Shares of LinkedIn, a social network for business professionals, ended their debut on the New York Stock Exchange up 109 percent at $94.25 as the first high-profile Web 2.0 initial public offering made a huge splash in public trading.
It’s a sign of the excitement around social networking and its promise, although the results were enough for some people to say it was part of a ridiculous bubble.
That means LinkedIn now has a market cap of around $9 billion — well above the valuation of $4 billion it claimed when it priced the shares of its initial public offering between $42 and $45. Shares of LinkedIn traded as high as $122 earlier today, giving the company an implied valuation as high as $11 billion. LinkedIn’s valuation is the first official record of the hyper-valuations many Web 2.0 companies like Twitter and Facebook have seen in recent years.
LinkedIn’s shares hovered at around $103 for most of the afternoon before finally dipping down below that level of support toward the end of daytime trading. The company also saw a quick decline in its share prices in the ten minutes before the markets closed, dropping as low as $91 before leveling off at around $94 minutes before the final bell. The shares were trading at $94.24 most recently in extended trading.
The company’s stunning debut on the stock market could end up creating additional chatter about whether several Web 2.0 companies are overvalued. LinkedIn’s closing share price and valuation mean the company is worth somewhere north of 36 times its revenue for 2010, which was around $243 million. There’s also the chance that share prices of LinkedIn could turn south over the next several days, like shares of Chinese social networking company RenRen. That company turned out to be a flop on public trading markets and has fallen below the IPO price of $14 to $13.75 it saw earlier this month.
A number of highly successful Web 2.0 companies like Facebook and Zynga — and LinkedIn — have seen ballooning valuations as investors have rushed to snatch up as many shares as possible ahead of what could be some of the most high-profile tech IPOs to date. Facebook, for example, was valued at $50 billion after its most recent round of funding — though it is trading at a higher price than that on secondary markets.
LinkedIn is based in Mountain View, Calif., and has more than 1,000 employees. The company, founded by Reid Hoffman (pictured above), is a business network that’s designed to help professionals connect with other potential business contacts and get a “warm introduction” through people in their network.