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LinkedIn Reportedly Planning 2011 IPO

Jan 6, 2011
This article is part of a series called Financial.

Reuters is reporting that LinkedIn is moving ahead with plans to go public this year and has already picked the banks it will work with.

Citing three sources, Reuters says the financial institutions include Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, and JPMorgan. The company supposedly heard presentations about IPO prospects in November.

Based on individual sales of the private company’s shares, as reported by SharesPost, LinkedIn is currently valued at around $2.1 billion. Speculation is that the company has revenues of $200 million and has been cash flow positive for at least two years. It makes money by selling premium services to its 85 million registered users, providing access and job postings to recruiters, and through advertising.

A company spokesman declined to comment on the IPO report, telling Reuters only, “An IPO is just one of many tactics that we could consider.”

It’s not much of a surprise that LinkedIn is thinking IPO; that speculation has been swirling for at least a couple of years. As recently as last September CEO Jeff Weiner said LinkedIn had talked with various financial institutions, though he said in an interview then he wouldn’t “characterize it as being specific about discussing IPOs.”

A month before that, Weiner told Bloomberg News that an IPO would help LinkedIn further its mission, “which is to connect the world’s professionals. An IPO, being public, raising money,” he said, “that’s really a tactic that helps us ultimately achieve that long-term objective.”

He could have added that it would add to the wealth of its founders and potentially provide a tidy return to the company’s investors, which include Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners and Goldman Sachs.

One other company to watch is The Ladders. Rumors about its likelihood of going public pop up periodically. Several months ago, Alexandre Douzet, president and co-founder of TheLadders, told me that an IPO was part of the company’s long-term strategy.

“We are at a scale now where, if we wanted, we could go for an IPO,” he said last June. In a conversation about other things the other day, I asked him again about the IPO talk. He laughed, joking about my asking the question every time we speak. However, after noting the improving economic climate, Douzet, just a little mysteriously, suggested the company might be making some announcements in the next few months.

An IPO? Capital investment? Or more product launches like one that we’ll be writing about Monday? Douzet didn’t say.

This article is part of a series called Financial.
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