LinkedIn Makes It Official: It’s Going Public

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Jan 27, 2011
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

LinkedIn did the expected today. It announced it was going public.

The privately held company filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission saying it intended to list on either the NASDAQ or the New York Stock Exchange. No initial offering price was listed, nor was the intended number of shares to be sold.

That LinkedIn was preparing for an initial public offering has long been rumored. Earlier this month Reuters said the company had been meeting with financial institutions and would begin offering shares this year.

The company has multiple shareholders, including founder Reid Hoffman and his wife who own 21.4 percent of the private stock, and three venture capital companies.

In its SEC filing LinkedIn reported it has been growing revenue rapidly. For the first nine months of 2010, the company had $161.4 million in revenue, twice the revenue for the first nine months of 2009. It also posted a $10.1 million profit through the end of September versus a loss of $3.4 million for the first nine months of 2009.

The numbers in the registration statement show LinkedIn’s revenue trajectory is clearly up. In 2007, LinkedIn had $32.5 million in revenue. A year later it more than doubled that to $78.8 million. And for all of 2009, the company had $120.1 million.

Although LinkedIn lost money in 2007-2009, the size of the loss has been decreasing annually. When the company reports its full year numbers for 2010, it will undoubtedly show a profit.

The company’s recruitment products account for 41 percent of revenue, a percentage that has has been growing over the last three years. It 2007, the “Hiring Solutions” product line generated $7.5 million, which was 23 percent of the company’s revenue. For the first three quarters of 2010, recruitment accounted for 41 percent of revenue or $65.9 million.

Site traffic, page views, and its customer base have all grown dramatically. At the end of 2008, there were 32 million registered users. At the end of last month, there were 90 million registrations. Monthly unique visitors, which averaged 36 million at the end of 2009, averaged 65 million at the end of last year. Customers now number about 3,900. A mere two years ago there were 900.

All of these metrics reflect the rise of social media generally, and LinkedIn’s increasingly important role in career networking and passive candidate hunting by recruiters. As the numbers in its registration statement show, LinkedIn has been pushing ever more strongly into the recruitment advertising and services arena.

In the fourth quarter alone, LinkedIn introduced Jobs For You, Referral Engine, and Career Explorer, and hosted its first user conference specifically for recruiters, Talent Connect.

Although a LinkedIn marketing official declared the company a professional business network, recruiters have begun to worry that it is taking on the trappings of a job board.

Nearly two dozen comments were posted to a late December ERE article entitled “Is LinkedIn Becoming a 21st Century Job Board?” Typical of many of them was this one, from Jeff Dickey-Chasins, the Job Board Doctor:

“It’s really quite simple. The more that LinkedIn adds new features that are primarily tied to finding a job, the more the users (who are not stupid) will see that it is a job board. A different type of job board, yes, but a job board.”

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This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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