Professional online network LinkedIn Corp. posted solid revenue gains as it lured its members to spend more time on the service, in what are likely its waning days as an independent company.
In June, Microsoft Corp. announced plans to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, a deal that is expected to close by the end of the year.
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Third-quarter revenue at LinkedIn rose 23% on the strength of its talent-solutions division, which helps corporate recruiters identify job candidates. That segment posted a 24% jump in revenue to $623 million as LinkedIn added customers and prior customers boosted spending.
A key reason Microsoft wants to acquire LinkedIn is to weave data about LinkedIn’s members in with its own offerings. That way, for example, sales representatives using Microsoft’s Dynamics software for managing customer relationships could pick up useful tidbits of background on potential customers from LinkedIn data.
That makes LinkedIn’s membership a key metric for the software giant, and it continued to grow in the quarter. LinkedIn now has 467 million members, up 18% from a year earlier. That growth helped fuel 106 million unique visiting members to the site per month in the quarter, up 6%. Member page views grew 27%.
Revenue from its marketing-solutions unit rose 26% to $175 million, with about two-thirds coming from “sponsored content” or ads that appear within users’ LinkedIn feeds. Those ads are among the company’s fastest-growing businesses.
At the company’s third business unit, premium subscriptions, revenue rose 17% to $162 million.
Over all, LinkedIn posted a profit of $8.6 million, or 6 cents a share in the quarter, compared with a year-earlier loss of $47.4 million, or 36 cents a share.
Excluding merger-related transaction costs and some other expenses, LinkedIn said it would have earned $1.18 a share, compared with 78 cents on that basis a year earlier. Analysts expected LinkedIn to report adjusted earnings of 91 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters.
Revenue grew to $959.8 million from $779.6 million a year earlier. Analysts expected LinkedIn to report first-quarter revenue of $959.35 million.
Shares, which have fallen 16% this year through Thursday’s close, edged 0.1% higher after hours to $188.75.