LinkedIn Corp (LNKD) To Post Solid 4Q Earnings Results

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LinkedIn Corp (NASDAQ:LNKD) will report its fourth quarter earnings on Thursday, February 6 after the market close. Raymond James analysts Aaron Kessler and Ben Cohen expect the numbers to be well above the consensus and the “typically conservative guidance.” Items to watch for, according to analysts, will be the guidance for 2014, subscriber growth in the quarter, mobile advertising adoption and Sales Navigator traction.

The analysts are positive on LinkedIn’s fundamentals, and believe “shares are largely anticipating a solid 4Q performance and believe are fairly valued at current levels.”

Expect LinkedIn to post above consensus results

For the fourth quarter, Raymond James analysts expect revenues of $444 million, which is more than the consensus estimate of $438 million and guidance of $415-420 million. EBITDA is modeled to come in at $110 million; again above the consensus of $107 million and guidance of $98-100 million. However, non-GAAP EPS is speculated at $0.38 below the consensus estimate of $0.39.

Over the past nine quarters, LinkedIn Corp (NASDAQ:LNKD) has been able to beat the high end of the revenue guidance by an average of $15.9 million and EBITDA by an average of $12.2 million.

Expectations from each segment

Talent Solutions revenues for LinkedIn Corp (NASDAQ:LNKD) are expected to come in at $249 million, which is in line with the consensus of $249 million. Analysts expect ending customers of 24,450, which is an increase of 50% year over year compared to 57% year over year for the third quarter. Average revenue per user (ARPU) is estimated at $3,566 against $3,545, in the third quarter. Analysts noted that job postings, which are a relatively small percentage of Talent Solutions revenues, declined 13% quarter over quarter to around 259,000 listings.

Analysts believe LinkedIn might have “parsed lower-quality listings in the quarter given that we observed similar q/q declines across most major geographies.”

For the fourth quarter, Marketing Solutions revenues are expected to come in at $107 million compared to the consensus estimate of $102 million. Data from to U.S. comScore suggests that unique visitors for both PC and Smartphone increased 21% year over year in the fourth quarter, against 33% in the previous quarter. Also, the total minutes increased 20% year over year compared to 47%, in the third quarter.

For Europe, unique visitors in PC-only category increased 20% year over year compared to 28% in the third quarter, and page views improved 13% against 33% last quarter.

LinkedIn a buy on any weakness

SIG analysts Brian Nowak and Michael Costantini expect LinkedIn to beat the revenue estimate by 1% helped by 5% better than expected Marketing Solutions and 6% better Premium Subscriptions, compensating for the decline in Talent Solutions. Analysts expect LinkedIn’s EBITDA to be 10% above the consensus estimate, and believe the company will issue conservative 2014 guidance, which “may cause near-term volatility, but our new Sponsored Content model shows the rev driver to come in 2H, which is why we still like LNKD and would buy it on any weakness.”

SIG analysts have a Positive rating on LinkedIn Corp (NASDAQ:LNKD) with a price target of $300 while Raymond James has a Market Perform rating.

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