A rumor surfaced last week, in Techcrunch UK, that News Corp. is looking at buying business networking site LinkedIn.

A well-placed source has confirmed with VentureBeat that these talks are serious. LinkedIn has declined to comment.

News Corp.’s strategy, from what we understand: Somehow integrate LinkedIn’s network with the Wall Street Journal as well as its other newspapers around the world, hopefully figuring out how to recoup News Corp.’s newspapers’ declining classified ad revenue in the process.

The driving force behind the deal is Jeremy Philips, according to our source. Philips is a rising star in the media conglomerate. At age 33, he is already an executive vice president under News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, who our source says he is very close with.

Philips focuses on acquisitions and general strategy, and is overseeing internet investments. He operates separately from Fox Interactive Media — he has established a group called NIM, or News (Corp) Interactive Media, our source says.