LinkedIn goes public, seeks to raise $274 million

Pic: Nan PalmeroLinkedIn announced on Monday that it plans to offer 7.84 million shares priced at between $32 and $35, as it becomes the first landmark US social network to go public.

The California-based social network for professionals is expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange within the next month and will use the symbol “LNKD.”

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LinkedIn, which has more than 100 million members in over 200 countries and territories, is seeking to raise as much as $274.4 million from the initial public offering (IPO) with $146.6 million going to the company itself.

The career-oriented social network initially set an overall target of $175 million when it registered for its IPO with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in January 2011.

LinkedIn’s debut on the stock market will be closely watched by investors ahead of a potential IPO next year by social networking titan Facebook, which has more than 500 million members around the world.

LinkedIn said it plans to use the money raised through the IPO to fuel expansion, in an updated filing with the SEC on Monday.

The social network will offer around 4.8 million shares to the public with the remaining three million coming from other shareholders.

Reid Hoffman, the company’s founder and chairman, is LinkedIn’s biggest shareholder and owns more than 21 percent of the company.

LinkedIn hit 100 million members in March, out of which 44 million live in the United States and 56 million outside of the country. The network is predominantly used by members to cultivate and manage career or business networks in the online community,

LinkedIn reports that it grew by 428 % in Brazil, 178% in Mexico, by 76% in India and 72% in France in 2010.

The company also more than doubled its revenue last year to $243 million, according to its filing with the SEC, and reported a net profit of $3.42 million in 2010 after suffering a loss in 2009.

LinkedIn, however, said it does not expect to be profitable this year as it steps up investment aimed at generating further growth.

The social network’s revenue comes from advertising, subscriptions for premium services, and “hiring solutions” that connect recruiters with candidates.

Lou Werner of financial services and investment firm Wedbush Securities said he expected LinkedIn to have a successful IPO.

“There’s tremendous interest by investors in all things social,” Werner told AFP. “It’s a great company and we’re not surprised that there’s tremendous enthusiasm.”

“It’s more of a niche than Facebook,” he added, “but still, a valuation of $3 billion is a pretty healthy valuation for a company that’s eight years old.” — AFP & Staff Reporter

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