LinkedIn Set To Be First U.S. Social Network IPO: Ahead Of Facebook

Is LinkedIn riding the media wave of the Facebook / Goldman Sachs deal to drum up momentum for its IPO?

This morning Reuters reports that the business-geared LinkedIn is set to go public in 2011 and has tapped Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan to run the deal.

My colleague Steve Schaefer predicted this move back on December 21st.

The news (or leak), comes just days after Goldman Sachs’s $500 million investment placed a shocking $50 billion valuation on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook. The deal has churned up debates about the SEC’s regulation of private companies, the legitimacy of  investment vehicles and the existence of a Social Network bubble–that’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a private company bubble.

With the news of an apparent IPO, LinkedIn (or its investments bankers)  is driving straight into the media storm. It could use the momentum.

LinkedIn’s private shares have stalled in the secondary market as company’s like Facebook, Groupon and Twitter break new land-speed records. According to private market adviser, NYPPEX, LinkedIn’s Enterprise value fell 8.6% to $1.58 billion from $1.7 billion between June and December 2010. Over that same period, Groupon surged 300%, Twitter rose 131% and Facebook–based on this week’s deal–exploded 90%.***

The topic of social network valuations is dominating the news;  LinkedIn’s co-founder Reid Hoffman and its other bosses are not letting the momentum go to waste.

A strong LinkedIn IPO could vault Reid Hoffman to the ranks of the Forbes 400 Richest Americans. In last October’s Forbes 400, we estimated Hoffman had a net worth of $350 million and listed him among our 15 in 2015: an elite group entrepreneurs, actors, athletes and musicians that Forbes thinks could be potential billionaires. Other nominees included: Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Z, Tiger Woods and James Cameron.

By STEVEN BERTONI (Forbes)
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