LinkedIn smashes Q3 earnings estimates

The professional networking site, a favorite on Wall Street, reports strong growth for the quarter. The stock soars after hours.

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Paul Sloan is editor in chief of CNET News. Before joining CNET, he had been a San Francisco-based correspondent for Fortune magazine, an editor at large for Business 2.0 magazine, and a senior producer for CNN. When his fingers aren't on a keyboard, they're usually on a guitar. Email him here.
Paul Sloan
2 min read
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner JD Lasica/Socialmedia.biz

LinkedIn, the professional networking site that now has 187 million members, today posted third-quarter earnings that easily beat Wall Street estimates and raised its revenue guidance for the full year.

The company, which had strong growth across the board, saw revenue rise 81 percent from the year-ago quarter, to $252 million. Analysts had expected revenue of $244 million. Net income also was up, with LinkedIn posting earnings per share of 22 cents, twice what Wall Street had predicted.

Membership rose 6.9 percent to 187 million from 175 million at the end of the second quarter.

Shares of LinkedIn, which closed the day just shy of $107, were up about 8 percent in after-hours trading.

"LinkedIn had a strong third quarter with all of our key operating and financial metrics showing solid growth," Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, said in a statement. "The last few months mark the most significant period of product development in the company's history."

LinkedIn's revenue growth by quarter
LinkedIn's revenue growth by quarter. LinkedIn

The company's strongest growth came from what it calls "Talent Solutions," which are fees that LinkedIn charges for products that help headhunters and others find employees. Revenue from Talent Solutions, which LinkedIn used to call "Hiring Solutions," rose 95 percent from a year ago to $138.4 million and now makes up 55 percent of LinkedIn's total revenue, up from 51 percent last year.

Here are the other categories:

  • Marketing Solutions.Revenue totaled $64 million, an increase of 60 percent from the third quarter of 2011. This area shrank as a percentage of total revenue, from 29 percent to 25 percent.
  • Premium Subscriptions. Subscription revenue rose 74 percent $49.6 million, and makes up 20 percent of the LinkedIn's total sales. That's the same percentage as in the third quarter of last year.

The company also raised its full-year revenue guidance to a range of $939 million to $944 million from the prior range of $915 million to $925 million.

Unlike the far larger Facebook, LinkedIn is a social network that investors have embraced. Shares of LinkedIn, which went public in May 2011 at $45, has soared more than 137 percent.

In fact, LinkedIn has been a standout among most of the Internet companies that have gone public in the last year and a half. Newcomers such as Zynga, Groupon and Pandora have all have been beaten up in the public markets.

Here's the full slideshow:

Update 2:21 p.m PT: Added slides and updated the change in LinkedIn's stock price in after-hours trading.