LinkedIn profit double Wall St expectations

Ben Southwood
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PROFESSIONAL social network LinkedIn last night announced third quarter results that beat Wall Street profit and revenue targets, defying troubles that have afflicted internet rivals Facebook and Zynga.

Profits at the jobs network hit $2.3m (£1.43m) in the third quarter, compared to a $1.6m loss in the same period last year.

Excluding certain items, profit per share was 22 cents, double the expectations of analysts polled by Reuters, and driving shares up 6.2 per cent to $113.52.

This swing into profit came from an 81 per cent rise in revenues, bringing them from $139.5m in the third quarter of 2011 to $252m in the quarter ending this September.

Now the firm expects to turn over between $270m and $275m in the fourth quarter, contributing to total revenues of $939m to $944m across the whole year – it previously expected revenues in the range $915m to $925m.

Chief executive Jeff Weiner called the last few months “the most significant period of product development in the company’s history,” hailing faster innovation and its role in driving customer interaction through LinkedIn’s jobs-orientated social network.
These developments included notifications – familiar to Facebook, and before that, MySpace users – revamped company pages, and endorsements, which allow LinkedIn members to recommend colleagues for their skills. The firm says members have endorsed one another over 200m times since the feature was implemented.

Possibly the most important change was a “redesigned and simplified” homepage – to which traffic has jumped 60 per cent, LinkedIn claims.

The California-based firm has claims 187m members – both companies seeking staff and professionals seeking work – and makes money from selling both adverts and premium subscriptions, as well as performing some recruitment services for businesses.