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LinkedIn Sets IPO Price, Valuation Talk Hits $3 Billion

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LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, has set a target price of $32 to $35 a share for its initial public offering, expected next week, according to documents the company filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

LinkedIn hopes to raise as much as $274 million, and if the IPO is successful, the company should be worth over $3 billion after the offering. Trading will commence on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol LNKD.

LinkedIn is just the latest internet startup to go public this year amid an increasingly frothy IPO market.

Web auto rental company ZipCar raised $174 million and watched its stock price close up 60 percent in its first day of trading. Demand Media, which went public in January, enjoyed a 33 percent first-day pop. And last week, Chinese internet social networking giant Renren—referred to as “the Facebook of China"—went public, soaring 40 percent higher in its first day of trading.

Meanwhile, discount shopping website Groupon and social-gaming company Zynga are both said to be mulling an IPO, although both companies have indicated they'll likely wait until 2012. Then there's Facebook, currently valued somewhere north of $50 billion, which is also expected to go public in 2012.

LinkedIn says it has 85 million members, and analysts estimate the company had $200 million in revenues in 2010. Linkedin has carved out a niche for itself as the social network for professionals, and in addition to selling ads, the company makes money by selling premium accounts and recruiting services to businesses.

LinkedIn has raised over $100 million in funding from Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners and Bessemer Venture Capital Ventures. Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and J.P. Morgan will be the lead bookrunners for the IPO, while UBS and boutique tech/media firm Allen & Co. will assist.


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