Thursday, May 19, 2011

LinkedIn IPO: Is This Time Different?

I'll quickly state that in my view the answer to the title is a resounding "no". It will be interesting to see how far this can move in either direction over the short run.

As of this post, LinkedIn is valued at $11 billion. I have either lost my ability to "get it" (quite possible) or LinkedIn is simply for suckers that are buying for speculative (i.e. have no interest in understanding what they are actually buying) purposes. My initial questions:

  1. Was my assumption that the majority of people signed up to LinkedIn because they felt they "had to" or "why not" vs. they want to regular use the site incorrect?
  2. Does this imply Facebook is perhaps the largest company in the world by market value? After all, in my Google search they have 5x LinkedIn's users and 130x the page views (i.e. people actually use the site).
  3. Why can't Facebook simply add a broader "professional business" feature for those interested in connecting?
  4. Do I have absolutely no sense of the value of niche social networking?
  5. Is Monster Worldwide (an online employment company with 4x LinkedIn's 2010 revenues and priced at a 6x lower valuation) actually cheap?
  6. When can trading at almot 50x revenue (revenues were $243 million in 2010) be justified by "this time is different"?
  7. Should the CEO be happy that the investment banking consortium raised $352 million for the company or upset that it "could have" (if priced at current levels) raised more than $850 million for the same issuance?
  8. When can I buy puts and/or sell calls on LinkedIn?
Interesting analysis of what is fair LinkedIn value is over at Musings on Markets.

Update: LinkedIn closed its first day of trading with a $9 billion market cap. Still WAY too high IMO.