LinkedIn stock soars on earnings, buyout
The social network for professionals is profitable and making a savvy acquisition.
By Tom Taulli
Forget about Facebook. The hot social media stock of the moment is LinkedIn (LNKD).
Thanks to strong earnings and a recent buyout that was well-received by investors, shares soared by double-digits Friday.
So does that mean brighter days are ahead for all social media stocks and the big Facebook IPO coming up in a few weeks? Maybe. But maybe not.
Other social media stocks are struggling. Groupon (GRPN) and Zynga (ZNGA) have been in steady declines for the past few months. So don't think this means every stock related to social media is going like gangbusters.
But LinkedIn continues to impress investors with its sizzling growth ramp. In the first quarter, the company more than doubled sales to $188.5 million, which was above the Wall Street consensus of $178.4 million.
LinkedIn also managed to post a profit of $5 million, or 4 cents per share. This was up from $2.08 million, or zero cents a share, for the same period a year ago.
With 161 million registered users, LinkedIn is one of the world’s largest social networks. And with its focus on professionals, the company has found several revenue streams. They include recruiting services, advertising and paid memberships. All of those categories continue to see lots of traction.
LinkedIn also announced that it paid $118.8 million for SlideShare, an online platform to post and share presentations. In all, the service gets about 29 million monthly visitors.
Facebook is, of course, much bigger. It is also raking in much bigger profits according to Facebook IPO reports. So perhaps the 900-pound gorilla of the social media "sector" will be able to ride LinkedIn's success in some way when it goes public on May 18.
But investors would be wise to not read too much into things. Social media stocks, while loosely related, are all very different animals. Groupon can't even get its accounting straight and had to restate earnings. And then Zynga earnings showed big difficulties in the growth department.
In other words, it's more important to look at the individual makeup of these companies than to draw and big-picture trends. (Check out a comprehensive outlook Facebook IPO)
But the good news for LinkedIn investors is that this stock in particular seems to be booming right now.
Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli or reach him via email. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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