MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.
LinkedIn and Facebook will celebrate the anniversaries of their IPOs just a few days apart this week. But their experiences as publicly traded companies couldn’t be more different.
LinkedIn Corp. promotes its service as a steppingstone to a more enriching career. As it turns out, the professional networking company’s initial public offering was a great place to start a rewarding investment portfolio, too.
LinkedIn’s stock has nearly quadrupled in value from its $45 IPO price May 20 two years ago. On Monday, it closed at $175.03 per share. In contrast, Facebook’s stock is hovering around $27 per share, down 29 percent since debuting May 18, 2012, at $38.
LinkedIn is emerging as the standout performer among its cohort of hotly anticipated IPOs from Internet companies that connect people with common interests. The company is growing faster and yielding far better shareholder returns than the rest of a class that includes online deals maker Groupon Inc., Web game maker Zynga Inc. and business review site Yelp Inc., as well social- networking leader Facebook Inc.
With the exception of Yelp, the stocks of all those other companies are stuck well below their initial public offering prices. Although Groupon and Zynga have fared worse, Facebook has been the highest-profile disappointment.
LinkedIn has a market value approaching $20 billion and employs about 4,000 people.
The secret to LinkedIn’s success? The company has turned its service into an easily searchable database, a treasure trove for employers and their headhunters. The company makes most of its money from the fees it charges for analytical tools and better access to individual profiles. About 18,000 companies pay LinkedIn for its so-called “talent solutions.”