LinkedIn plans public debut

Jan. 29, 2011 at 1:31 PM
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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Social networking Web site LinkedIn said it would go public in 2011, perhaps serving as a test case for a variety of privately owned Internet firms.

The Guardian reported Saturday that an assortment of Internet firms were ripe for an initial public offering, including social Web site Facebook, discount retail firm Groupon and Zynga, a social gaming business.

Analyst Rory Maher at Hudson Square Research said Facebook had sparked renewed interest in Internet firms, having recently raised funds that valued the company at $50 billion. But many investors are still wary, remembering the boom and bust of the 1990s.

"Facebook has definitely escalated people's interest in the sector and I think there's a lot of demand," Maher said.

After Goldman Sachs invested in Facebook, it was forced to table a private offering of the company's shares to wealthy clients, due to too much demand. The "level of media attention might not be consistent with the proper completion of a U.S. private placement under U.S. law," the investment bank said.

LinkedIn, which is geared towards business networking, has 90 million users and earns money through member services and advertising, but the business model is still in flux.

In 2010, revenue from subscriptions dropped from 41 percent to 21 percent of total revenues, while revenue from services -- job listings and recruitment -- went in the opposite direction. Advertising revenue held steady at 32 percent, the newspaper reported.

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