JP Morgan, BofA start LinkedIn with top rating

Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:48am EDT

* JP Morgan sets 'overweight' rating, $85 PT on stock

* BofA Merrill sets 'buy' rating, $92 PT on stock

* LinkedIn is a play in positive Internet growth trends-BofA

* JP Morgan says stock has 'scarcity value'

June 28 (Reuters) - The popularity of social networking and the increasing use of the Internet by enterprises for recruitment will spur LinkedIn Corp's (LNKD.N) growth for the next few years, two brokerages said, starting coverage on the stock with their top rating.

JP Morgan said the professional social networking company boasted subscription-based corporate recruiting, online advertising and premium subscriptions, making it poised to grab a share of both the staffing and the online advertising markets.

The brokerage started coverage of the stock with an "overweight" rating and a $85 price target and said the company had a deep corporate reach by easing the interaction between potential employers and employees, which was disrupting both the online and offline job recruitment markets.

LinkedIn's shares more than doubled on its trading debut last month, publicly testing the hunger of investors for social media companies such as Facebook, Groupon and Twitter, which are widely expected to go public in coming months. [ID:nN1939946]

"Much like Facebook is doing in social, LinkedIn is mapping the professional graph," the brokerage said in a note to clients.

BofA Merrill started coverage on the stock with a "buy" rating and said it expects LinkedIn to post strong second quarter results with the IPO-related branding boosting its members and revenue. It set a $92 price target on the stock.

Both brokerages noted LinkedIn's aggressive investments in its field sales force both at home in the U.S. as well as overseas and in product development.

"Additionally, we believe LinkedIn has scarcity value in two ways: it’s one of the few public companies with social media characteristics and less than 10 percent of it's shares outstanding are floating," JP Morgan said.

Shares of Mountain View, California based LinkedIn closed at $76.38 on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

((siddharth.cavale@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5800; Reuters Messaging: siddharth.cavale.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: LINKEDIN/RESEARCH JPMORGAN

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* JP Morgan sets 'overweight' rating, $85 PT on stock

* BofA Merrill sets 'buy' rating, $92 PT on stock

* LinkedIn is a play in positive Internet growth trends-BofA

* JP Morgan says stock has 'scarcity value'

June 28 (Reuters) - The popularity of social networking and the increasing use of the Internet by enterprises for recruitment will spur LinkedIn Corp's (LNKD.N) growth for the next few years, two brokerages said, starting coverage on the stock with their top rating.

JP Morgan said the professional social networking company boasted subscription-based corporate recruiting, online advertising and premium subscriptions, making it poised to grab a share of both the staffing and the online advertising markets.

The brokerage started coverage of the stock with an "overweight" rating and a $85 price target and said the company had a deep corporate reach by easing the interaction between potential employers and employees, which was disrupting both the online and offline job recruitment markets.

LinkedIn's shares more than doubled on its trading debut last month, publicly testing the hunger of investors for social media companies such as Facebook, Groupon and Twitter, which are widely expected to go public in coming months. [ID:nN1939946]

"Much like Facebook is doing in social, LinkedIn is mapping the professional graph," the brokerage said in a note to clients.

BofA Merrill started coverage on the stock with a "buy" rating and said it expects LinkedIn to post strong second quarter results with the IPO-related branding boosting its members and revenue. It set a $92 price target on the stock.

Both brokerages noted LinkedIn's aggressive investments in its field sales force both at home in the U.S. as well as overseas and in product development.

"Additionally, we believe LinkedIn has scarcity value in two ways: it’s one of the few public companies with social media characteristics and less than 10 percent of it's shares outstanding are floating," JP Morgan said.

Shares of Mountain View, California based LinkedIn closed at $76.38 on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

((siddharth.cavale@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5800; Reuters Messaging: siddharth.cavale.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: LINKEDIN/RESEARCH JPMORGAN

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