Reviewing LinkedIn’s Valuation

Posted on August 12, 2008

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After writing my weekend post about LinkedIn’s $1 bln valuation (“Locked in on Linked In“), I did a bit of reading about how some others viewed the matter. (I wanted to come to my own conclusion without being influenced too much by others who already wrote about the topic…)

Michael Arrington wrote a nice article back in June about social network valuations, using the “average Internet advertising spend per person in the country they live in.” Arrington mentions the same problem I alluded to in my article – not too many data points from which to base valuations in the social networking industry (Facebook’s at $15 billion, MySpace at $580 mln and Bebo at $850 mln by acquisition). He doesn’t come to any conclusions as far as viability of the current valuations, but the metrics and his responses to commentary make for an interesting read.

Many postings announcing the $53 mln Bain Capital investment mention rumors of how LinkedIn was striving for a $1 bln valuation, seemingly to justify its targeted user base of higher-than-average income user base that can be used to generate higher-than-average advertising revenue. Caroline McCarthy mentioned this back in May on CNET, as did Arrington in his May 5 posting.

Overall, the initial reaction out there is that the validity of the valuation remains to be seen, but the unique nature of LinkedIn’s user network appears to have some merit according to the first wave of observers. Of course, there were those with a hearty defense of the Facebook valuation when it hit $15 bln last year as Jonathan Richards wrote about in October.

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