Fri, Apr. 10, 2:01 PM
- "There are natural synergies we see with a combination, both strategic and financial, and we see an easy fit within LinkedIn’s (NYSE:LNKD) business model," writes Topeka's Victor Anthony, praising the Lynda.com acquisition. He admits the purchase is expensive - with Lynda having posted 2014 revenue of ~$150M, LinkedIn is paying 10x trailing sales - but (like others) also sees "a compelling opportunity" for cross-selling.
- Macquarie's Tom White observes LinkedIn could offer premium subscriptions that bundle Lynda's courses, and that it can use its data to pitch users on Lynda services. Cantor's Youssef Squali calls the purchase "another significant step toward building the world’s first economic graph."
- Re/code's Kurt Wagner notes Lynda could help LinkedIn make further inroads with students, and that the companies' missions align. "LinkedIn aims to connect people with job opportunities. Lynda.com aims to connect people with an education about those jobs."
- Discussing the deal with Wired, CEO Jeff Weiner argues there's an opportunity to translate Lynda's material into Chinese and other languages. He also suggests the content could boost LinkedIn's user engagement (a historical issue for the company), and that LinkedIn could use its publishing platform to identify potential Lynda contributors.
- Shares are up 4.8% since the deal was announced, and about $12 away from a high of $276.18. Q1 results arrive on April 30.
Thu, Apr. 9, 9:36 AM
- Lynda.com provides thousands of online courses and video tutorials (often tied to learning software programs or Internet services) via subscriptions sold to individuals, businesses, and academic and government institutions, and in partnership with professional "authors."
- The company was founded in 1995, has over 500 employees, and and had 2013 revenue of $100M (+43% Y/Y) while turning a profit. Its courses cover fields ranging from core business skills to photography/video to IT training.
- LinkedIn (LNKD -1.2%) is buying Lynda.com for $1.5B - 52% in cash, 48% in stock. The deal is expected to close in Q2. "Most" of the company's employees will be joining LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner: "Lynda.com's extensive library of premium video content helps empower people to develop the skills needed to accelerate their careers. When integrated with the hundreds of millions of members and millions of jobs on LinkedIn, lynda.com can change the way in which people connect to opportunity."
- LinkedIn exec Ryan Roslansky: "Imagine being a job seeker and being able to instantly know what skills are needed for the available jobs in a desired city, like Denver, and then to be prompted to take the relevant and accredited course to help you acquire this skill."
- Other recent LinkedIn acquisitions: Refresh (meeting preparation app), Careerify (recruiting software), Bizo (business ad services), Bright (analytics-driven job search engine/listingplatform)
Thu, Apr. 2, 1:29 PM
- Refresh helps users prep for meetings by uncovering information about the people they're meeting with; the startup claims to have "surfaced insights associated with hundreds of millions of meetings." LinkedIn (LNKD +0.4%), of course, is often used for the same purpose via its profile pages.
- LinkedIn has bought Refresh for undisclosed sum, and says it plans to use the startup's technology to create new features; it's unclear if those features will go into new apps or LinkedIn's existing ones. Refresh's current app will shut down on April 15, and 12 of its 14 employees will be joining LinkedIn.
- The purchase comes two weeks after LinkedIn announced the acquisition of Canadian recruiting software startup Careerify.
Mon, Mar. 16, 5:00 PM
- As part of a broader Internet/cloud software stock coverage launch, Brean's Sarah Hindlian (formerly with Evercore and JPMorgan) has started LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) with a Sell rating and $208 target.
- Hindlian thinks expectations for LinkedIn's Sales Navigator social selling platform (now a large % of subscription revenue) are too high, and that the "browsability" of its core site is lacking. "While we note that LinkedIn has a valuable asset — its database of global professionals and their respective networks - we fear attempts to monetize it could be more limited than investors may realize."
- She argues LinkedIn's aggressive efforts to boost engagement via its messaging platform (InMails), publishing platform, and other services are hurting the user experience, while failing to boost time spent on its site. "In the long term we are concerned that investors are comfortable comparing a sales user base to a talent recruitment base, noting that any successful loading of sales people onto LinkedIn is likely to significantly disrupt users, and therefore disrupt Ad Revenues."
- Her target translates to a 9x 2015E EV/sales multiple.
- LNKD -1.3% AH to $256.80.
- Earlier: LinkedIn buys Canadian recruiting software developer
Mon, Mar. 16, 2:34 PM
- LinkedIn (LNKD - unchanged) has acquired Careerify, a Toronto-based developer of recruiting software tools for businesses. Terms are undisclosed.
- Two of Careerify's products will be shuttered, but a referral product that helps companies find job candidates using their employees' social network contacts - it could complement LinkedIn's existing recruiting tools, which make heavy use of publicly-shared member data - will remain open to existing customers. No word yet on how LinkedIn exactly plans to leverage the product or its underlying technology.
- Careerify CEO Harpaul Sambhi: "We decided to join LinkedIn due to what we lacked – massive scale. More than 30,000 companies across the globe leverage LinkedIn for recruitment, and with more than 347 million members, LinkedIn offers an opportunity to make a much larger impact on job seeking and hiring."
- The purchase follows LinkedIn's 2014 acquisitions of business ad services firm Bizo (recently leverage to launch a new ad product) and job search engine/listing platform Bright.
Thu, Feb. 26, 10:07 AM
- As part of an Internet sector launch - it also includes Yelp, Expedia, and others - Morgan Stanley's Brian Nowak (formerly with Susquehanna) has launched coverage on LinkedIn (LNKD +2%) with an Overweight rating and $310 target.
- Nowak: "LNKD's earnings power is still underappreciated as our proprietary industry-level large enterprise analysis shows the Talent Solutions (TS) runway is still very long." He also declares LinkedIn's ad offerings (just expanded to cover 3rd-party sites) are "becoming the [Facebook] for professional advertising," and predicts additional top-line beats and margin expansion are on the way.
- Shares have made fresh highs. They're up 15% since LinkedIn posted a strong Q4 beat on Feb. 5.
Fri, Feb. 20, 5:37 PM
- LinkedIn Network Display, a new ad solution launched by the professional social networking giant, allows marketers to buy ads from LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) which are shown on 3rd-party sites, but which leverage LinkedIn's valuable profile data for targeting purposes.
- Advertisers can opt to target as few as 1K people, and be very specific about whom they're targeting - for example, a campaign could be run that only shows ads to software developers in the L.A. area.
- CNN and Weather.com are among the sites initially showing the ads, some of which could carry very high prices thanks to their focus on high-income demographic groups. The product has its roots in LinkedIn's $175M 2014 acquisition of business ad service provider Bizo.
- Facebook and Twitter have already begun using their user data to sell ads on 3rd-party sites/apps. LinkedIn is coming off a Q4 in which its ad sales (24% of total revenue) rose 56% Y/Y.
Fri, Feb. 6, 9:12 AM
Fri, Feb. 6, 8:04 AM
- Hiking his price target on the Buy-rated stock to $275 from $240, SunTrust's Robert Peck notes the easy earnings beat, guidance that's likely to prove conservative, continued strong growth in TAS, and Marketing Solutions outperformance.
- "We believe the most important takeaway from the call is management's level of enthusiasm and confidence in Sales Navigator heading into CY 15," says Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, reiterating his Overweight rating and hiking the price target to $297 from $282.
- Credit Suisse lifts its PT to $331 from $285, and Evercore ISI boosts to $290.
- BofA upgrades to Buy with $320 price target.
- LNKD +9.5% premarket
- Previously: LinkedIn soars to $256 on Q4 beat, ad growth pickup (Feb. 5)
Thu, Feb. 5, 5:48 PM
- LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) is guiding for Q1 revenue of $618M-$622M (below a $645.7M consensus) and full-year revenue of $2.93B-$2.95B (in-line with a $2.94B consensus). However, the company has a long history of sandbagging sales guidance. Q1 EPS guidance of $0.53 is below a $0.55 consensus, but full-year EPS guidance of $2.95 is above a $2.73 consensus.
- Q4 Talent Solutions revenue (jobs, 57% of total revenue) +41% Y/Y to $369M; Marketing Solutions (ads, 24% of revenue) +56% to $153M; Premium Subscriptions (19% of revenue) +38% to $121M. Marketing Solutions growth accelerated sharply from Q3's 45%. International was once more 40% of total revenue.
- The deferred revenue balance rose 33% Y/Y to $522.3M. GAAP costs/expenses rose 44% to $629.3M; sales/marketing spend totaled $224.3M, and R&D $150.3M.
- LNKD +7.8% AH to $256.60. The all-time high for regular trading (set in 2013) is $257.56.
- Q4 results, PR
Thu, Feb. 5, 4:18 PM
Wed, Feb. 4, 5:35 PM
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Tue, Feb. 3, 7:27 AM
Fri, Jan. 23, 9:45 AM
- Raymond James has upgraded LinkedIn (LNKD +1.6%) to Strong Buy from Market Perform ahead of its Feb. 5 Q4 report, and set a $280 target.
- The professional social networking giant is $15 away from a high of $243.25. Shares go for 9x 2015E sales on an EV/sales basis. This year's revenue growth consensus is at 34%.
Wed, Jan. 14, 6:51 PM
- While Facebook rolls out an enterprise social networking platform to test partners, LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) says it's prepping its own tools for connecting and sharing with co-workers.
- The products include a solution allowing users to send private messages (InMails) to co-workers even if they aren't connected, a product for sharing employee contact info, and an app for joining employee groups receiving specific content from an employer. However, unlike many existing business social networking solutions (as well as Facebook's), there won't be a chat service.
- Though widely used for professional networking and job hunting, LinkedIn isn't relied on nearly as much for communicating with co-workers - a use case that's more likely to involve active daily/weekly engagement. Boosting low engagement rates has been a LinkedIn priority for some time.
Wed, Jan. 14, 10:17 AM
- Facebook at Work, first reported on by the FT in November, has been made available via app stores to select enterprise test partners. The platform looks a lot like standard Facebook (FB +0.4%) - it contains a news feed, messaging tools, and groups - and lets users log in with their regular Facebook accounts. But a user's professional data is completely split off from his/her personal data, and Facebook won't collect any of it.
- Moreover, unlike LinkedIn (LNKD +0.1%), Facebook at Work is only focused (for now) on connecting with co-workers, thus arguably making it more of a rival to Jive Software (JIVE -0.3%), Salesforce's Chatter platform, and Microsoft's Yammer. LinkedIn and Jive both sold off following the November FT report.
- With no ads being sold, corporate subscriptions are a potential revenue stream. Facebook can count on its giant, highly engaged user base to drive interest in Work. At the same time, it has to contend with corporate wariness towards Facebook, historically viewed by many of them as a productivity-killer.
- Separately, Oppenheimer and Credit Suisse have respectively hiked their Facebook targets to $100 and $102. Oppenheimer expects a strong Q4 report on Jan. 28. "Checks suggest 4Q pricing +14% q/q and +21% y/y, with same-client spending +32% q/q and 33% y/y ... Organic reach is becoming more difficult, due to competition for newsfeed impressions ... We also see upside from increased video adoption."
- Credit Suisse cites the potential of Facebook's mobile ad network, and argues "Street models are too conservative and underestimate the long-term monetization potential of upcoming new products."
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