By all accounts, private shares of Facebook are incredibly popular, with wealthy investors causing a virtual stampede over who will get to buy them through Goldman Sachs. It's a good bet that there will be widespread interest if/when Facebook goes public, too. So to avoid being overshadowed, LinkedIn may IPO this year.
Nadia Damouni reported this morning, "LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals, plans to go public in 2011 and has selected its financial underwriters, three sources familiar with the process told Reuters."
And sure enough, one of the sources explained, "Some of these companies want to go public because they want to beat Facebook and others out. If Facebook went public before Linkedin, do you think anyone would pay that much attention to Linkedin? You might want to surpass the beast."
Bank of America, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley would all supposedly play a role in this undertaking. Unfortunately, not much else is known.
The valuation of the theoretical IPO remains a mystery, for example, although Damouni was able to point out that private sales of LinkedIn's stock make the company worth about $2.2 billion. (A point of reference: AOL's market cap is $2.5 billion.)