LinkedIn's Q4: Solid on earnings results but softens on outlook

Nevertheless, shareholders appeared to be at ease with LinkedIn's Q4 results as stock began to climb in after-hours trading.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

LinkedIn published fourth quarter and end-of-year results after the bell on Thursday.

The professional social network reported a Q4 net income of $3 million, or two cents per share (statement).

Non-GAAP earnings were 61 cents per share on a revenue of $643 million, up 44 percent year-over-year.

Wall Street was looking for earnings of 53 cents per share with at least $617 million in revenue.

For 2014 overall, LinkedIn generated $2.219 billion in revenue, up 45 percent from 2013, with $2.02 earnings per share.

However, LinkedIn didn't hit the target quite as well on the outlook.

For the first quarter of 2015, Wall Street expects LinkedIn to deliver earnings of 55 cents per share and $645.72 million in revenue.

LinkedIn followed up with a softer revenue guidance range of $618 million and $622 million with projected earnings of 53 cents per share.

Nevertheless, shareholders appeared to be at ease with the results regardless as LinkedIn stock began to climb by as much as five percent initially in after-hours trading.

Describing the fourth quarter as one that "capped another successful year for LinkedIn," CEO Jeff Weiner turned toward 2015 in prepared remarks, hinting at more to come for the social media brand's evolving economic graph plan.

CFO Steve Sordello concurred, adding "The fourth quarter underscored a strong 2014 for LinkedIn, as we demonstrated growing organic engagement and solid performance across our three, diverse product lines."

Marketing Solutions demonstrated the highest growth rate from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the end of 2014, growing revenue by 56 percent. But Talent Solutions generated the most revenue dollars with $369 million in Q4.

Holding steady with an active user base count of more than 300 million, LinkedIn grew its active job listings 10 times over in 2014 to roughly three million on the platform.

Looking even farther down the road, LinkedIn expects full year 2015 revenue to ring up between $2.93 billion and $2.95 billion with $2.95 earnings per share.

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