LinkedIn blew expectations out of the water this morning when the stock prices topped $90, over double the $45 per share price set by the company last night. At the time of this post, the stock price hovered around $85, a price that values the company at about $8 billion. (You can check the current price here.) LinkedIn's lucrative initial public offering is second only to one other internet company: Google.
Over the past couple of weeks, investments analysts, tech experts and business journalists have been scratching their heads over LinkedIn's impending IPO. The company raised the price of the IPO several times in the final days leading up todays offering, behavior that many warned resembled the tech bubble of the 1990s, and the triple-digit price increase resembles the market activity in the final moments before the bubble burst. As the first social media company to be traded publicly, bloggers are comparing LinkedIn's roaring opening performance to the 1995 debut of Netscape, the first and inevitably fated internet company to IPO. Similar to the events of the past week', Netscape jacked up its IPO price at the last minute, from $14 to $28, and the soared in its first day on the market closing at $58.25, a price that set the company's value at $2.9 billion. Netscape is no more but it's worth noting that three years after its IPO, the company was acquired for $4.2 billion by AOL, who eventually disbanded the company. Of course, this was all before the bubble burst in 2000.
Preempting the soaring price, The Daily Beast's Gary Rivlin last night called today's IPO "LinkedIn's Big Ripoff" and spoke to investment expert David Menlow about why that's the case. "The mentality that’s out there is, ‘We can’t get into Facebook, we can’t get into Twitter or Groupon or whatever, so we’ll pay whatever it takes to get into this uncorrelated proxy for those offerings," Menlow said. In its reaction piece to this morning's soaring price, the Wall Street Journal quotes attorney Victor Shum, a financial advisor to technology firms, on how LinkedIn's performance from here on out will affect other companies. "If it works, there's going to be a big push from a lot of social media companies to try to get out before Facebook does," said Shum. Of the price, WSJ's Deal Journal said simply, "Our mouths are agape…"
The general consensus seems that despite a potentially inflated stock price, the company's outlook is strong, and clearly investors are hungry for a slice of the social media cake. The stock's performance from here on out will let us know whether or not they can eat it too.