Deals

LinkedIn buys B2B marketing startup Bizo for $175M

Linkedin buys Bizo
Image Credit: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is getting into the “Bizo”-ness.

Pro social network LinkedIn has purchased marketing-platform startup Bizo in a deal worth $175 million, the company announced today.

Bizo produces B2B marketing products that measures display and social advertising campaigns for specific audiences. Recently, the company launched a marketing automation product called Multi-Channel Nurturing, as VentureBeat previously reported.

The $175 million acquisition will see LinkedIn paying 90 percent in cash; the remaining 10 percent is in stock.

“We plan to incorporate Bizo’s Media Solutions and Multi-Channel Nurturing products into our portfolio [LinkedIn’s sponsored content platform, ad business, etc.] but don’t plan to carry over their Data Solutions business,” said LinkedIn’s David Thacker in a company blog post. He added that it would honor existing contracts with current Bizo clients, but LinkedIn won’t make its own data available.


NOTE: Bizo CMO David Karel and LinkedIn Director of Sales Brett Wallace will both be speaking at our upcoming GrowthBeat event, where we’ll be exploring the data, apps, and science of successful marketing. Get the scoop here, and grab your tickets before 5pm on Friday, July 25 to save $200!


The deal is interesting — and potentially problematic — on multiple levels.

Bizo is a spinoff of Zoominfo, which is all about collecting data about people and companies, then packaging and selling that data to marketers. Bizo’s focus is different in that it is more about technology tools, but it also boasts on its home page that companies can “use Bizo’s demographic data on 120 million business professionals” in marketing campaigns.

That’s clearly the last thing many LinkedIn members had on their minds when they signed up to a professional social networking site. And it’s the piece — Data Solutions — that LinkedIn is planning to close or sell postacquisition.

But statements like this might ring a few alarm bells for LinkedIn members who aren’t interested in more marketing and advertising coming their way:

“LinkedIn’s mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful, while Bizo’s is to help B2B marketers get to the right people. We realized that our respective missions are incredibly well aligned,” wrote Bizo CEO Russell Glass in a separate blog post.

Clearly LinkedIn, which would have vetted Glass’s acquisition statement, is saying that connecting B2B marketers with prospects is something that is core to LinkedIn’s business. I’m not sure that very many LinkedIn users would say the same.

Whatever LinkedIn’s ultimate goals, the immediate win might be something much simpler:

“LinkedIn will now be able to leverage Bizo’s primary asset, their third party cookie data, to serve ads” says Bizo competitor DemandBase’s CEO, Chris Golec, who also has a partnership with LinkedIn. “With this acquisition, LinkedIn is sending a clear signal that the B2B market is massive, and incredibly important to their long term success.”

Founded in 2008, San Francisco-based Bizo previously raised $28.5 million in funding to date. LinkedIn said it expects to close its acquisition of the company by Q3 2014.

John Koetsier contributed to this report.


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