LinkedIn beats Street, outstrips social media rivals

Thu Feb 7, 2013 10:59pm EST
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By Gerry Shih

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - LinkedIn Corp extended its hot streak on Thursday, announcing both blow-out quarterly profits and a bullish forecast for the new year that exceeded Wall Street's already lofty expectations.

The results reaffirmed the "professional" social network's reputation as a fast-growing but sure-footed business -- and the star exception in a mostly disappointing social media sector.

Excluding certain items, net income was $40.2 million, or 35 cents a share, well above the 19 cents expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The results meant LinkedIn beat analyst estimates for the seventh quarter in a row and sent shares of the company, which have doubled in the past 12 months, soaring 9 percent higher to $135 after hours.

Revenue rose a better-than-expected 81 percent from a year ago to $303.6 million, as millions of new job seekers and corporate recruiters around the world signed up with LinkedIn to post resumes or poach competitors' employees.

The company offered bullish forecasts for the first quarter as well, projecting revenue between $305 million and $310 million, above analyst estimates of $301 million.

"You can pick out a lot of things that were great, from customer adds to accelerating revenue to growth in international," said Kerry Rice, an analyst at Needham & Co. "On top of that, guidance is pretty outstanding. And from a historical perspective, they'll likely beat those numbers too."


The logo for LinkedIn Corporation, a social networking networking website for people in professional occupations, is shown in Mountain View, California February 6, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith