LinkedIn Doubles Revenue, Acquires SlideShare

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Jeff-Weiner

LinkedIn doubled its first-quarter revenue to $188.5 million from a year ago on strong growth across its employment services, subscription and advertising business lines in the first three months of 2012. The professional network reported a profit of $5 million, or 4 cents a share, up from $2.1 million, and break-even, in the year-earlier period.

On an adjusted basis, LinkedIn had a profit of $16.9 million, or 15 cents a share. Wall Street analysts had forecast adjusted earnings of 9 cents a share on revenue of $179 million for the quarter.

LinkedIn also announced its acquisition of online content-sharing service SlideShare for almost $119 million in cash and stock. Company CEO Jeff Weiner said in a statement that SlideShare’s widespread use for sharing presentations among professionals would fit "perfectly" with the company's mission and help to deliver more value to members. The deal is expected to close by June. 

LinkedIn’s revenue growth in the first quarter was driven mainly by gains in its hiring solutions business, which increased 121% from a year ago to $102.6 million and accounted for 54% of overall sales. The company’s premium subscriptions revenue nearly doubled (up 91%) to $37.9 million, while advertising sales grew 73% to $48 million. Advertising made up 26% of total revenue, while subscriptions contributed 20%.

The company's U.S-based revenue was $120 million, and international, $67.6 million. 

During a conference call with analysts, Weiner also highlighted LinkedIn’s continued mobile growth. He noted that 22% of the site’s traffic came through mobile devices in March, up from 8% in the year-earlier period. In addition to its smartphone apps, the company last week also introduced an iPad app to extend its reach to the Apple tablet.

With its mobile audience rapidly expanding, Weiner said LinkedIn is starting to develop a parallel monetization strategy that will extend all three of its business lines to mobile. “With our hiring solutions and premium subscriptions, we believe we can create more value by enabling our paying customers and subscribers to get access to those products and services regardless of where they are,” he said.

On the advertising side, Weiner added there would be “very natural locations” for ad placements within the iPad app that would mirror the desktop site. Because of the small screen size of smartphones, he said LinkedIn will test new ways to monetize the platform, like running contextually relevant ads in the stream of status updates a user sees. 

Looking ahead, LinkedIn said revenue for the second quarter is projected to range from $210 million to $215 million, and adjusted EBITDA to fall between $40 million and $42 million. For the full year, it forecasts revenue of $880 million to $900 million, up from the prior range of $840 million to $860 million. Adjusted net income will range from $170 million to $175 million.

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