LinkedIn Connects As Q1 EPS Rises 150%

Investor's Business Daily

Online professional networking site LinkedIn (LNKD - News) late Thursday reported first-quarter results that flew past analyst estimates, as it continues to add about 5 million new members per month.

LinkedIn's guidance for the current quarter also beat views, and shares were up 9% in after-hours trading, after its report.

"The numbers are very good," said Martin Pyykkonen, an analyst at Wedge Partners. "Their user base continues to grow strong, and there is a lot of potential in the international markets still to be tapped.

The company said revenue jumped 101% from the year-earlier quarter to $188.5 million, past estimates of $178.6 million and the seventh straight quarter of triple-digit revenue growth. The U.S. accounted for 64% of sales.

Earnings minus items soared 150% to 15 cents, vs. the estimates of 9 cents by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

For Q2, LinkedIn expects revenue of $210 million-$215 million, above consensus estimates of $208 million. The midpoint would be a 75% increase. It projected earnings minus items of $40 million-$42 million, vs. consensus estimates of $40 million.

LinkedIn said it has 161 million members, up 11% from Q4.

LinkedIn was the first U.S.-based social networking firm to come public, last May. The stock popped 109% its first day, to 94.25, leading the way for other Internet IPOs to follow, from Pandora (NYSE:P) and Yelp (YELP - News) to TripAdvisor (TRIP - News) and Splunk (SPLK - News). LinkedIn closed Thursday's regular session at 109.41, up 2.8%.

In the wings is the biggest Internet IPO of them all, Facebook, expected this month.

Late Thursday Facebook filed plans to sell 337.4 million shares at a proposed price range of $28 of $35 each. At the high end, the IPO would bring in more than $13 billion and value the company near $90 billion.

LinkedIn, which focuses solely on business users, has a market value near $11 billion.

Facebook last week reported Q1 revenue of $1 billion, up 45%. It says 526 million users log in daily.

As an 800-pound gorilla, Facebook has the potential to thunder into most any market, but it has not indicated any plans to go after the professional networking field LinkedIn dominates.

"So far Facebook has not come out and said they will target the professional networking market," Pyykkonen said.

LinkedIn members can sign up for free and post their work history, skills and more.

Founded in 2003 and based in Mountain View, Calif., LinkedIn makes money three ways. Its hiring solutions group involves subscribers that use the site to find new hires. This unit's revenue jumped 121% in Q1, LinkedIn said, to $102.6 million.

The company's marketing solutions group sells ads. Its sales rose 73% to $48 million.

And the premium subscriptions unit — where users pay a fee for services that include internal emails, enhanced search results and profiling — saw sales rise 91% to $37.9 million.

"We saw strength across all key metrics from member signups and engagement to significant revenue growth across our three product lines," LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said in a statement.

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