LinkedIn posts 1Q loss as expenses rise

May 1 2014, 5:20pm CDT | by

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — LinkedIn suffered a first-quarter loss as the online professional networking service ramped up its investments in projects aimed at attracting more users on the lookout for better jobs and career advice.

Despite the setback, the results announced Thursday surpassed the analyst projections that sway investors. LinkedIn has cleared Wall Street's financial hurdles in all 12 of its quarters as a public company.

Nevertheless, LinkedIn Corp. has fallen out of favor with investors amid concerns about the company's rising expenses and slowing revenue growth.

LinkedIn's stock slipped $5.83, or 3.6 percent, to $155.39 in Thursday's extended trading after the latest numbers came out. The shares are about 40 percent below their all-time high reached last September.

The Mountain View, California, company lost $13.4 million, or 11 cents per share, during the first three months of the year. It marks LinkedIn's largest quarterly loss since going public in May 2011. It earned $22.6 million, or 20 cents per share, at the same time last year.

If not for the costs of employee stock compensation and certain other expenses, LinkedIn said it would have earned 38 cents per share. That figure topped the average analyst estimate of 34 cents per share among analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Revenue rose 46 percent from last year to $473.2 million — about $7 million above analyst predictions.

LinkedIn is plowing more money into hiring employees and developing services designed to persuade people to open accounts and then make frequent visits to the company's website so it can sell more advertising.

Some of those efforts appeared to pay off in the first quarter. LinkedIn added another 19 million accounts during the period to end March with 296 million users. Total pages views — a telling indication of users' interest in an online service — reached 11.5 billion during the quarter, up from 11.1 billion at the same time last year. The page-view volume, also exceeded the final three months of last year, an encouraging sign after user engagement had waned in the previous two quarters.

 
 

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