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LinkedIn has 175 million members and growing

linkedin, social media, dailydealmedia.comLinkedIn Corporation (ticker: LNKD) offers a network that is similar to Facebook but focuses on the professional markets, nationally and globally. The company is thriving as THE go to alternate network for professional contacts. Millions of Facebook users also have LinkedIn accounts so on the surface, LinkedIn is not a competitor to Facebook, but instead caters to an extremely valuable niche market. The company has more than 175 million members. Almost 62% of their membership comes from international markets.

On a per member basis, Facebook dominates the social networking scene. If you exclude the ’80 plus million Facebook duplicate accounts’, the Facebook family is four to five time larger than that of LinkedIn’s. However, from a revenue growth and profit standpoint, LinkedIn is social media – done right. LinkedIn is clearly the global leader in professional social networks.

The financials

Revenue improved 89% year over year, however net income declined relative to the year-ago quarter (in my opinion, this will be a number to keep an eye on going forward). Each of LinkedIn’s three platforms demonstrated impressive top-line growth. One of those revenue platforms is beginning to dominate.

Platform                        Q2 Revenue     Year-over-Year Growth     Percent of Total

Hiring Solutions            $121.6 million          107%                                      53%

Marketing Solutions                 $  63.1 million             64%                                      32%

Premium Subscriptions $  43.5 million           82%                                      20%

As noted, over half of the company’s sales come from its “hiring solutions” platform. The company packages information and sends it off to recruiters that are using LinkedIn as their main source for identifying talent.

In 2008, Monster Worldwide realized $1.3 billion in revenues through a similar model. LinkedIn has the potential to meet if not beat the Monster number. The company has over 10,400 large “enterprise” accounts, of which the average account spent about $28,000 last year. It stands to reason as recruiters continue to forge alliances with LinkedIn and its best-in-the-industry data, this number will also continue to rise. It’s also important to note that LinkedIn is not just adding new accounts; it’s capturing a greater share of the job recruiting dollars from existing accounts.

In my opinion, the opportunity for LinkedIn is ginormous. LinkedIn has the potential to continue to expand its professional site at a faster rate than Facebook. The potential revenue pie is also massive. LinkedIn estimates its addressable market at about $27 billion. Last year the company captured a fractional $522 million slice. This year the company should walk away with a much larger slice. The good news is that there are a lot more slices left waiting to land on the LinkedIn platter.

The numbers

Unfortunately for LNKD shareholders, the pricing (in my opinion) got caught up in all the negativity surrounding the Zynga snafu and Facebook earnings. After tagging $ 107.72 on July 30th, the shares got hammered to $ 91.67 on August 2nd. Oh yee of little faith.

As it turns out, that was an awesome buying opportunity since LNKD rocketed to $ 113.00 (a gain of over 23%) by August 6th. It’s my opinion that had there not been the selloff ahead of earnings, LinkedIn would have tagged the $120 a share after the earnings call. I still believe the company is a much sounder company than it was the first time the stock hit $120. For those itching to get into a social media stock, LNKD should not be ignored.

Trading technicals

LNKD has a habit of gapping higher then coming back down and filling in those gaps. For LNKD to fill this latest gap would mean a move back down to the $97.50 level. Trend line support as of this writing is $ 92.17. I want to stress the point that LinkedIn is considered a hyper growth stock and is NOT for the faint of heart. The valuation algorithm I use values LNKD at $17.95 per share. Therefore, it is extremely overvalued compared to its price of $104.92 per share. Value is computed from forecasted earnings per share, forecasted earnings growth, profitability, interest, and inflation rates. Value increases when earnings, earnings growth rate and profitability increase, and when interest and inflation rates decrease. Any miss at all during an earnings call or a possible future slowdown in growth would (in my opinion) crush the shares.

For disclosure purposes I am considering re-entering a long position in LNKD should the shares revisit the $92.17 to $97.50 area.  

*Disclaimer – Stock comments presented on DailyDealMedia.com are solely those of me and experts quoted. They do not represent the opinions of DailyDealMedia.com on whether to buy, sell or hold shares of a particular stock.

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Don Young

Don Young, Jr. is a beat writer for Daily Deal Media, the number one resource for the Daily Deal Industry. Don has spent over a decade as a stock broker / advisor focusing on fundamental and technical analysis. Prior to that he was the sole proprietor of The Tile Guy , based in Portland,Or. completing multitudes of both residential and commercial projects in the Pacific Northwest. Don enjoys researching new businesses , market forecasting, traveling, cooking, volleyball , golf and relaxing with family and friends.
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