LinkedIn eyes public stock offering in first quarter

New York : LinkedIn Corp, said to be the largest networking site for professionals who work online, is considering going public with a stock offering, media reports said Thursday.

Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of America Corp have been engaged by LinkedIn to prepare an initial public offering (IPO) prospectus by the end of the first quarter, according to unnamed people familiar with the plans quoted by Bloomberg financial news agency.

Shannon Stubo, a spokeswoman for LinkedIn, told Bloomberg “an IPO is one of many tactics that we could choose to pursue”.

The Wall Street Journal also reported on the plans.

More than 85 million people are plugged into LinkedIn, which carries only professional information online in contrast to social networks like Facebook and MySpace.

Its biggest rival is Xing in Hamburg, Germany, which has more than 10 million members including four million in German-speaking Europe.

Earlier this week, Facebook was in the news for drawing private investments of $500 million from investment bank Goldman Sachs and Russian firm Digital Sky Technologies. Facebook, with 500 million members, is valued at $50 billion.

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