LinkedIn to keep $88M from latest stock sale

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ? LinkedIn Corp. raised an additional $88 million as the online professional networking service burnished its resume as a publicly held company.

The money came through a sale of LinkedIn shares that served as an encore to the company’s sizzling stock market debut six months ago.

Besides padding LinkedIn’s own bank account, the stock sale gave the company’s employees and early backers their first chance to profit from some of their holdings since the company’s initial public offering. Restrictions imposed as part of the May IPO had prevented the company insiders from selling their stock until now.

LinkedIn sold 1.27 million shares in the offering while company insiders sold a combined 7.5 million shares in the offering completed late Wednesday. The size of the offering was slightly larger than originally disclosed because of LinkedIn’s stockholders, Bessemer Venture Partners, threw an additional 750,000 shares into the sales pool.

All the shares were sold at $71 each, slightly below LinkedIn’s Wednesday closing price at $71.56.

The slight discount was a sign that there is still a decent appetite for LinkedIn’s stock. That came as a relief to investors who had been fretting there wouldn’t be enough demand to soak up the additional LinkedIn shares pouring into the stock market. About 9 million shares were sold in LinkedIn’s IPO, so the secondary sale nearly doubled the volume that can be traded on the market.

In another sign that the latest sale of stock went over well on Wall Street, LinkedIn shares gained $3.36, or nearly 5 percent, to close at $74.92 Thursday. That still left the stock slightly below its price before a Monday regulatory filing revealed how many shares were going to be sold.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner was the biggest individual winner in the stock sale. After paying investment banking fees, Weiner reaped a $26 million windfall from his sale of nearly 373,000 shares. He still owns 2.3 million shares.

Three venture capital firms ? Bessemer, Greylock Partners and Bain Capital Venture Integral Investors ? sold a combined 6.36 million shares for $438 million, after subtracting fees.

The amount LinkedIn raised fell below the $100 million that the company was targeting when it announced its plans for the stock sale in early November. After paying more than $2 million in fees, LinkedIn was left with about $88 million.

The company, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., plans to the money to pay for an expansion of a service that already has more than 135 million members who share information about their careers and goals on LinkedIn’s website. LinkedIn makes money from advertising and fees charged for additional information and access to the profiles on its website.