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LinkedIn projects disappointing sales, profit; stock plunges

Although first-quarter results beat expectations, the company warns of a weaker current quarter. The networking site for professionals may be investing faster than it can make up for it in sales.

CEO Jeff Weiner has been pushing LinkedIn beyond its original focus on job recruitment. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner's investments to enter new markets and find new lines of business may not be paying off as quickly as hoped.

The company said Thursday it expects to have second-quarter revenue and profit that fall well below analysts' estimates. The company, with more than 350 million members, forecast sales between $670 million and $675 million. Analysts had estimated $715.5 million.

Profit minus some costs are expected to be 28 cents, missing analysts' estimates of 75 cents a share.

Shares plunged as much as 27 percent in after-hours trading.

Weiner is pushing LinkedIn beyond its original focus on job recruitment. LinkedIn is expanding into new markets, including China, and adding new lines of business such as tools for advertising and marketing. The company earlier this month said it reached an agreement to buy Lynda.com, an online training site for its members, for $1.5 billion.

The acquisition, expected to close in the current quarter, would be LinkedIn's largest so far.

For the first quarter, the company reported revenue of $638 million, beating analysts' estimates of $636.5 million. The loss for the quarter widened to 34 cents a share, compared with a loss of 11 cents the same period last year. Profit that excludes some costs such as stock-based compensation was 57 cents a share. Analysts had expected 56 cents.