LinkedIn IPO price range boosted by 30 percent

By @ibtimes on

Social networking company LinkedIn Corp raised the expected price range of its initial public offering by 30 percent on Tuesday, a sign that investors remain eager to bet on social networking companies.

LinkedIn, which has been meeting with potential investors, now plans to sell shares at $42 to $45 each, up from a previous range of $32 to $35. The new range values the 9-year-old company at $4.11 billion.

The stock market reception to LinkedIn will be an important gauge of investor appetite for social networking, including the Big Four of the social media space -- Facebook, Twitter, Groupon and Zynga -- which are widely expected to go public.

LinkedIn's growth has been rapid: It doubled its revenue last year to $243.1 million and posted net income attributable to shareholders of $3.4 million. However, in the risk factors section of its prospectus, the company disclosed that it does not expect to be profitable in 2011 based on U.S. generally accepted accounting principals.

Our philosophy is to continue to invest for future growth, and as a result we do not expect to be profitable on a GAAP basis in 2011, the filing said.

It is not uncommon for an unprofitable company to seek a public listing, but it could give investors pause to see a company bluntly predict swinging to a loss during its first year as a publicly traded stock.

Companies like Facebook, Twitter, Groupon and Zynga have stoked investor interest for social media companies and command multibillion-dollar private market valuations. But there are signs that investor appetite could be waning.

Renren, a company sometimes called the Facebook of China, went public in the United States earlier this month. Its shares soared 29 percent in their debut but have since dropped below the IPO price.

French social networking site Viadeo, the second-biggest social networking site for professionals behind LinkedIn, said on Monday it would defer plans to go public.

Of the 7.84 million shares LinkedIn is offering, 4.83 million will come from the company and the rest from stockholders.

LinkedIn co-founder and ex-PayPal executive Reid Hoffman is among the stockholders selling shares in the IPO, but he will still have 21.7 percent of the voting power in the company after the offering.

Other big stakeholders offering shares include Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital Venture Integral Investors LLC and McGraw-Hill Cos Inc.

Underwriters on the offering are being led by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and JPMorgan. The company's shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday under the symbol LNKD.

(Reporting by Sweta Singh in Bangalore and Alina Selyukh and Clare Baldwin in New York; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy, Ian Geoghegan and John Wallace)

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