LinkedIn Net Up 66% Amid Strong Membership Growth

First Published Thursday, 7th February 2013 10:13 pm - © 2013 Dow Jones


LinkedIn Corp.'s (LNKD) fourth-quarter income grew 66% as the professional social network's premium service and membership ranks kept growing--along with expenses.

Shares jumped 8.5% after hours to $134.68 as the company predicted upbeat revenue for the first quarter and easily beat Wall Street's expectations for the quarter. As of Thursday's close, the stock was up 23% over the past three months.

For 2013, the company forecast revenue of $1.41 billion to $1.44 billion, compared with expectations of $1.44 billion from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. It also predicted first-quarter revenue of $305 million to $310 million, above estimates of $301 million.

LinkedIn, which launched its website in 2003, has been a strong growth story despite the struggles of many other newly public Internet companies, such as Zynga Inc. (ZNGA), Facebook Inc. (FB) and Groupon Inc. (GRPN).

The company has now reported eight straight quarters of surging revenue growth, aided by increased demand for its premium subscription service, which gives members additional networking tools for a fee.

Revenue from premium subscriptions improved 79% to $59.4 million, representing 20% of total quarterly revenue, the same level as in the third quarter.

LinkedIn in January said it reached 200 million members world-wide. It said Thursday it ended the year with about 202 million members, up 39% from 2011. Still, its network remains far smaller than Facebook, which has more than one billion active monthly users.

Overall, LinkedIn reported a profit of $11.5 million, or 10 cents a share, up from $6.9 million, or six cents a share, a year ago. Excluding stock-based compensation costs and other adjustments, per-share earnings rose to 35 cents from 12 cents a year earlier. Analysts most recently expected a per-share profit of 19 cents.

Net revenue grew 81% to $303.6 million, beating the company's November guidance of $270 million to $275 million.

Total costs and expenses rose 76%, led by sizeable increases in sales and marketing, as well as product development.

Write to Ben Fox Rubin at ben.rubin@dowjones.com

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