Mike Isaac

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LinkedIn’s Banner Q3 Blows Past Street Consensus

LinkedIn’s numbers are in, and they’re far better than Wall Street expected.

Here’s the first quick look at Q3 earnings: EPS of 22 cents per share on revenue of $252.0 million. That’s significantly higher than the consensus, which was EPS of 11 cents on revenue of $244.6 million.

“The last few months mark the most significant period of product development in the company’s history,” LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said in a statement. “This accelerated pace of innovation is fundamental to our goal of driving greater engagement on the LinkedIn platform.”

Analyst estimates for the quarter were positive, though initially modest, due to what Cantor Fitzgerald called “a soft job market and uncertain macro environment.”

The jump comes from stellar growth in the company’s three major revenue streams: Its recruiting business with revenue up 95 percent year on year, its marketing business which saw growth of 60 percent from the year-ago quarter, and its premium subscriptions product, which jumped 74 percent from Q3 in 2011.

And the company’s outlook continues to look good. LinkedIn raised its yearly guidance to revenue of $939 million to $944 million, up from previous estimates of $915 million to $925 million.

Part of the positive outlook comes from the major changes LinkedIn made to its Web site and profile pages late into the third quarter, including new notifications, endorsements and company pages tweaks. Additionally, the LinkedIn homepage redesign saw traffic increase more than 60 percent since its debut. The company also announced a new user base milestone, with more than 187 million active users now using LinkedIn.

And all that user activity adds up to more money. “Increased member activity led to sustained growth across our talent, marketing, and premium product lines, resulting in record levels of adjusted EBITDA as well as record operating and free cash flow,” said CFO Steve Sordello in a statement. “We expect a strong finish to the year behind momentum in both our engagement and monetization platforms.”

Shares of LinkedIn were up nearly 9 percent in after-hours trading, at a price of $116.00 per share.

Here’s the slide deck for the earnings presentation:

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work