LinkedIn co-founder sees IPO likely, but not soon

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LONDON (Reuters) - LinkedIn, the world’s biggest professional social network, will probably pursue an initial public offering some time but not in the near future, co-founder and executive chairman Reid Hoffman told Reuters.

“Probably at some point a balance will occur when that’s the right thing. That will not occur in the near term,” Hoffman said at a London event to celebrate the network’s reaching 3 million users in Britain.

LinkedIn, with 53 million members around the world, is seen as a strong IPO candidate, especially as the market starts to pick up. A recent Reuters poll found it one of the Silicon Valley companies most eligible to go public.

The network -- which allows members to manage their professional profiles online, helping them find key business contacts or new jobs -- raised $76 million in its last funding round in 2008, then valuing the company at $1 billion.

Since then, the company has almost doubled its number of members. It has been profitable for the past two years.

“We haven’t spent a dime of our last financing,” Hoffman said. “I think our numbers are good enough that we are not driven by the market.”

LinkedIn is backed by Goldman Sachs, McGraw Hill, SAP Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners.

Earlier this year, LinkedIn appointed former top Yahoo executive Jeff Weiner as chief executive. In the last month it has announced partnerships with Microsoft, Twitter and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion.

This week, LinkedIn opened its API (application programing interface) to external software developers, freeing the way for members to bring their LinkedIn profiles to other sites, and to increase the potential reach and utility of LinkedIn membership.

Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Dan Lalor