Shares of LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) stock jumped nearly 7% in late trading after reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter results. Here's a closer look at the final totals versus Wall Street's projections:
|Revenue||YOY Growth||EPS||YOY Growth|
|Consensus estimate||$617 million||37.9%||$0.53||35.9%|
|Q4 actuals||$643.4 million||43.9%||$0.61||56.4%|
For the year, LinkedIn reported $2.22 billion in revenue and $2.02 in non-GAAP profit. Analysts tracked by S&P Capital IQ were calling for $2.19 billion and $1.94 a share, respectively.
"The fourth quarter capped another successful year for LinkedIn, which was marked by steady member growth and strong financial results," said Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, in a press release. "We continued to make significant progress against a number of multi-year, strategic initiatives including mobile, jobs, content, and global expansion."
The results also mark the fourth-consecutive quarter in which LinkedIn has topped analysts' average profit target by at least $0.04 a share.
What went right: Marketing Solutions put up the best numbers among LinkedIn's three main areas of business, growing revenue 56% year over year as professionals began using the platform to publish their ideas. The site now hosts more than 1 million long-form posts, and adds 50,000 more every week.
What went wrong: Not much. If I had to pick a weak spot, it's on the cash flow statement where fourth-quarter cash from operations ($130.4 million) wasn't enough to cover capital expenditures ($241.6 million). That's nitpicking, though: LinkedIn has almost $2 billion more in cash and liquid securities than it does debt, and even the debt is convertible into stock. The company has more-than-enough capital to reinvest.
What's next: Looking ahead, LinkedIn projects $618 million to $622 million in first-quarter revenue, and $0.53 in adjusted profit. Analysts are targeting $646.5 million and $0.56 a share, respectively. They also see LinkedIn generating 40.54% average annual earnings growth during the next three-to-five years.
Tim Beyers occasionally beats his own estimates. He's also a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission and owned shares of Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool.
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