LinkedIn’s Strategic Moves

Jul 29, 2010
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

You may have heard rumblings recently that LinkedIn is ready for an IPO (they have said this won’t happen in the near future, but I wonder…), and that the company has recently been valued at $2.26 billion. According to the Financial Post,

“On Tuesday, hedge fund Tiger Global Management made a US$20-million investment in LinkedIn, giving the New York-based investment firm a 1% stake in the company at a value of US$21.50 per share…According to SharesPost, a website that tracks the value of private companies, LinkedIn still has 105 million shares outstanding. At US21.50 per share, that gives the “professional network” a total valuation of US$2.26-billion.”

LinkedIn also recently hired Shannon Stubo as its new Vice President Communications, as reported through TechCrunch. (she hasn’t had time yet to update her LinkedIn profile) Stubo was formerly the Senior Director, Corporate Communications at OpenTable, an online restaurant reservation website, and participated in taking OpenTable through its IPO process last year. Prior to that she was Vice President, Corporate Communications at eBay and also spent some time at Yahoo and Intuit. Her hire has raised more discussion that LinkedIn is preparing for an IPO. Interestingly, there are no posts on Stubo’s hire on the LinkedIn blog, nor are there any official press releases.

Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s CEO, said in an interview last month that LinkedIn is fielding inquiries from bankers interested in the company, without identifying which firms or saying whether an IPO is forthcoming. “We don’t need the capital,” he said.

As if that weren’t enough, last month Weiner told of acquisition plans to “make its professional networking tools more accessible on mobile phones and add features that make the site more relevant to members.” He said he wants to make it easier for users to “hunt for jobs and recruit new employees,” something all of us have been using LinkedIn for since its launch back in May 2003. LinkedIn also has plans to hire 900 new employees by the end of 2010 to cope with rapid growth in India, Brazil and China.

New $20 million investor? New senior level hire with experience in IPOs? Nearly 1,000 new hires planned? Acquisitions to broaden mobile  reach? Tell me this doesn’t smack of IPO before the end of the year. What are your thoughts?

8/4 UPDATE: LinkedIn released a statement today that they have acquired mSpoke, a startup focused on making media more relevant through their recommendation technology with offerings for content publishers, research analysts and individuals.

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