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Social’s Still Hot: LinkedIn Follow-On Offering Snags $1.2B

LNKD's big fundraiser is another bullish sign for the space


LinkedIn’s (LNKD) follow-on stock offering last night just raised a cool $1.2 billion — roughly 20% higher than set forth in the filing. However, LNKD is off a little more than 1% since news of the offering broke yesterday, so the implications don’t seem particularly clear but to Wall Street, but let’s look at some possibilities:

As is typical with a follow-on offering, LinkedIn only provided a broad list of possibilities for using the money, such as acquisitions, infrastructure investments (data centers aren’t cheap) and hiring engineers. For the most part, LNKD — which already had $873 million in the bank — will have more flexibility to pounce on opportunities.

Yet the financing certainly doesn’t mean LinkedIn is poised to ramp up its dealmaking. Keep in mind that, over the years, LinkedIn’s mergers & acquisitions activity has been fairly restrained. And why not? The company has had little trouble cranking out a hefty growth rate in terms of users and revenues.

If anything, the LinkedIn financing might be just a smart leveraging of the company’s sky-high valuation. LNKD is trading at 900 times earnings, which is ridiculous even compared to Facebook’s (FB) 189 multiple, and certainly on a different planet than Google (GOOG, 25x) or Apple (AAPL, 12x). Such high levels make this kind of offering a dirt-cheap way to raise capital.

If there’s one takeaway from the offering, it’s that the bullishness for social stocks is still in fine form. So consider it a good bet that we’ll see similar deals soon, and that there’ll be more IPO filings in the space. For instance, if Twitter ever needed more evidence that now’s the time to get a deal done, this is it.

Lead underwriters on the deal included JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Morgan Stanley (MS).

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook. He is also the author of High-Profit IPO StrategiesAll About Commodities and All About Short Selling. Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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