3 Reasons I'm Considering LinkedIn for My Portfolio

Recently, I wrote about five stocks that I feel have plenty of room to grow in the near future. One of these companies will be added to my portfolio at the end of the month. With that in mind, I have decided to take a deeper look at each of the companies and identify three things about each one that I think would make them worthy additions to my portfolio. I've already discussed Amazon.com and Facebook, so now I turn my attention to LinkedIn (Nasdaq: LNKD  ) .

Not your average recent tech IPO
Sadly, LinkedIn is often lumped in with other recent social media IPOs, primarily because of its astronomical P/E ratio. I feel that this is unfair. For one thing, when LinkedIn applied for its initial public offering early last year, it did so with profitable quarters under its proverbial belt. That sets it apart from nearly every other recent tech IPO except Facebook (Nasdaq: FB  ) , which was profitable as a private company but needed to go public due to reaching the 500-shareholder maximum for private companies.

A prime example of a horrible tech IPOs is Groupon (Nasdaq: GRPN  ) . It seems as if nary a quarter goes by without some negative news about the daily deals company. Recently, "accounting issues" led to a massive earning restatement for previous quarters, and the stock has been affected as a result, with the company losing 80% of its market cap since IPO -- from $12 billion to around $3 billion -- making its decision to reject Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) pre-IPO offer of $6 billion seem foolish.

Show me the money!
Though LinkedIn is not quite making the same revenues that Facebook is pulling in, it does have one thing going for it: multiple revenue streams. While Facebook generates most of its revenue from advertising -- 85% of its revenue last year alone -- LinkedIn has succeeded in moving beyond advertising to make money. While advertising still made up about 30% of revenue during its most recent quarter, the company saw 107% growth in its Hiring Solutions segment year-over-year, as well as 82% growth in Premium Subscriptions.

What exactly are these two segments? Hiring Solutions is what employers pay to use the site to find worthy people for their positions, while Premium Subscriptions is what members pay to get additional features on the site. If free networking isn't landing you a job, a user can pay a monthly fee to access special features, like guaranteed direct contact with companies, detailed salary information, and access to an exclusive webinar, among others. Likewise, companies use Hiring Solutions to go beyond the resume gathering of Monster Worldwide (NYSE: MWW  ) and look for people with the breadth of experience and connections to truly bring something new to the table.

The largest professional network
While LinkedIn doesn't have the mass appeal of Facebook and its 955 million active users, it has slowly turned itself into the largest professional network in the world. The site has 175 million members and accounts for 2 million companies from 200 countries, and there are still plenty of opportunities to further expand. Management estimates the annual expenditures on talent acquisition at $27 billion, but its Hiring Solutions segment has yet to crack $500 million. The company is expanding its sales force and opening international offices, both in an attempt to close this gap. If they are able to do so, there is no reason to think that LinkedIn will continue to trade at such a high multiple to earnings, but only time will tell.

Is this enough?
It's hard to look at LinkedIn and see its crazy P/E ratio right now, but as long as the company continues on its current path, there is no reason to think that it might get closer to a P/E lower than 100 within a year or two. The company is just different enough than others it's been compared to to warrant inclusion in my portfolio, so I will be keeping an eye on the company as I decide which company to add to my portfolio at the end of the month. To keep an eye on LinkedIn to see if it wins this portfolio battle, click here to add it to My Watchlist.

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Fool contributor Robert Eberhard has a LinkedIn profile but holds no position in any company mentioned. Follow him on Twitter, or click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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