LinkedIn aims to beat Facebook to the Stock Exchange

LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals, plans to go public this year and has selected its financial underwriters, according to sources.

LinkedIn aims to beat Facebook to the Stock Exchange

Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and JPMorgan are among the front-runners to run the offering, the sources said, adding that the bankers made their pitches to LinkedIn back in November.

“An IPO is just one of many tactics that we could consider,” a spokesman for LinkedIn confirmed without adding clarification.

The news follows Facebook’s deal to raise cash through private investment this week, ahead of a possible public offering next year, and Facebook’s actions could push other web-based companies into going public sooner rather than later.

“Some of these companies want to go public because they want to beat Facebook and others out,” said one of the sources. “If Facebook went public before LinkedIn, do you think anyone would pay that much attention to LinkedIn? You might want to surpass the beast.”

Facebook is not expected to file for a public offering until late 2012, but that could change as US regulators are reviewing whether the number of shareholders in Facebook has exceeded a 499-investor limit imposed on private companies.

If the SEC decided Facebook had passed the threshold, it could accelerate Facebook’s timeline for going public.

The people familiar with the process said LinkedIn was hoping to attract investors on its reputation as one of the web’s fastest growing social network sites.

The site claims more than 85 million members, and is seen as more business-centric than Facebook.

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