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LinkedIn stock soars after Q4 blowout

Net income climbs 66 percent in quarter as CEO calls 2012 a "transformative year for LinkedIn."

Linkedin founder Reid Garrett Hoffman (L) and CEO Jeff Weiner (R) just before ringing the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange May 19, 2011.
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Mark it down as a blowout. LinkedIn earned 35 cents per share on sales of $303.6 million in the fourth quarter ended December 31, up 81 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Analysts had expected earnings of 19 cents per share on $280 million in revenue.

Net income in the quarter soared 66 percent to $11.5 million, compared with net income of $6.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2011.

Even though gross profit margins edged down to 37.9 percent from 41.2 percent a year earlier, Wall Street may like the headway the company is making in cost control: Quarterly expenses as a percentage of sales fell to 91.2 percent from 94 percent a year ago.

Will the numbers be enough to move the needle? Shares closed Thursday at $124.05. In the last year, LinkedIn shares have gone up more than 60 percent. In after-hours trading, LinkedIn was up initially 11 percent.

In the quarter, LinkedIn announced that it reached the 200 million member mark around the world (up from 187 million in September) and what management says about the company's operations globally -- where about 64 percent of LinkedIn's users reside -- may determine where the stock heads on Friday. Indeed, revenue from international markets represented 38 percent of total revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012.



"2012 was a transformative year for LinkedIn," CEO Jeff Weiner said in a statement. "We exited 2011 having successfully revamped our underlying development infrastructure. Based on that investment, we said that 2012 would be a year of accelerated product innovation, and it was. The products we delivered throughout the year drove member engagement and financial results to record levels in the fourth quarter."

During the conference call to discuss the earnings, Weiner noted that LinkedIn was the world's 25th most visited website in the quarter.

Looking ahead, LinkedIn expects revenue between $1.41 billion and $1.44 billion in the first quarter. It said that adjusted earnings are expected to come in between $315 million and $330 million.

LinkedIn by the numbers:

  • Talent Solutions: $161 million, an increase of 90 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2011. That represented 53 percent of total revenue in the period compared with 51 percent the year earlier.
  • Marketing Solutions: $83.2 million, up 68 percent. That represented 27 percent of total revenue in quarter, compared with 30 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.
  • Premium Subscriptions: $59.4 million, an increase of 79 percent. The division contributed 20 percent of total revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012 and 2011.