The financial juggernaut known as LinkedIn rolled on in the third quarter, growing revenue and improving earnings at a rate so unexpected the company’s stock soared up more than 12 percent in after hours trading today.
In a week that saw the other two publicly held careers publishers — Monster and DHI Group — post better than expected results (Monster was more mixed), LinkedIn’s 78 cents a share earnings dwarfed them both and was 32 cents ahead of even the aggressive Wall Street forecast.
Except that their phones were all muted, CEO Jeff Weiner might have heard the laughs from the analysts on the financial results call when he opened his comments saying, “Q3 was a strong quarter for LinkedIn.”
Three months ago, on a similar call reporting the results of the year’s second quarter, LinkedIn forecast earning 43 cents a share on revenue of $745 million to $750 million. Revenue for the third quarter turned out to be $779.6 million.
Recruitment drove the company’s gains, accounting for $502.1 million, with Lynda.com, LinkedIn’s newly acquired learning and development arm, contributing $41.3 million.
To put this in context, LinkedIn’s recruitment revenue is almost twice the combined revenue of Monster and DHI Group ($232.22 million) — and that’s without including the Lynda revenue. CareerBuilder, privately owned by a group of media companies, doesn’t report revenue or earnings.
Traditional job boards have long feared the growing dominance of LinkedIn — its membership now tops 400 million. The worry was it would lure away customers and capture significant parts of the resume search side of the business. There’s almost no doubt that is happening.
Although both Monster and DHI Group, whose flagship is the tech site Dice.com, reported per share earnings that beat the consensus of analysts’ forecasts, both saw their third-quarter revenue decline from the same quarter in 2014.
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DHI Group revenue declined 3.7 percent, largely due to a big hit in the energy sector. The company reported earning 12 cents a share on revenue of $65.14 million. Analysts forecast the company would earn 10 cents a share.
Monster, which released its financial results this morning, reported earning 11 cents a share and revenue of $167.1 million for the quarter. Analysts predicted it would earn 10 cents a share on revenue of $176.53 million. The quarter was a sharp 7 percent cut from the prior year, with some of the decline due to currency exchange rates.
The company’s stock took a beating, dropping 13.9 percent ($1.02) largely due to its cautious fourth-quarter outlook. Monster predicts it will earn between 10 and 14 cents a share. Analysts were looking for 13 cents a share.
“Revenue was essentially flat as stronger than anticipated results from Europe were offset by weaker than expected results in North America,” said CEO Tim Yates.