LinkedIn shares soar after big beat on top and bottom

LinkedIn earnings beats expectations
LinkedIn earnings beats expectations

LinkedIn shares soared Thursday after the company reported both confident forward guidance and better-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue.

The company said it saw adjusted first-quarter earnings of 74 cents on $861 million in revenue. Analysts, meanwhile, had expected LinkedIn to report earnings of about 60 cents per share on $828 million in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Shares in the company spiked more than 15 percent in after-hours trading, but then gave back some of those gains.

Wall Street had only expected LinkedIn to report a 30 percent year-over-year increase in quarterly revenue and 5 percent growth in earnings per share over the previously reported figures from the year-ago period. Instead, the company reported 35 percent revenue growth and a 30 percent increase in adjusted earnings on a year-over-year basis.

Within the company's better-than-expected revenue figure, LinkedIn saw first-quarter revenue of $558 million from "Talent Solutions," $154 million from "Marketing Solutions" and $149 million from "Premium Subscriptions." Wall Street had expected those figures to come in at $539.8 million, $142.3 million and $142.4 million, respectively, according to StreetAccount.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

LinkedIn also topped estimates on members, reporting that it had 433 million members at the end of the first quarter — analysts had expected about 427.9 million.

"LinkedIn delivered strong financial results and growth across our core product lines," Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn CEO, said in the company's Thursday release. "As a result of our new mobile experience, members are increasing their activity on LinkedIn, helping drive strong levels of engagement across the platform."

On the company's Thursday afternoon earnings call, Weiner said that LinkedIn "members are engaging at record levels with the more relevant and comprehensive feed."

"During the quarter, viral actions increased more than 80 percent, daily shares were up nearly 40 percent, and traffic to third-party publishers grew more than 150 percent," he added.

Those results will come as welcome news to investors who saw the digital networking company's stock crash when it reported its fourth-quarter results in February. Although it announced better-than-expected earnings and revenue at the time, its shares plummeted on its outlook for the first quarter of 2016.

With the company's stock falling more than 40 percent after that disclosure, LinkedIn saw about $10 billion of its market capitalization disappear. Since that plunge to a share price of roughly $109, the stock has recovered to about $123.

Looking to the second quarter, the company said it expects revenue between $885 million and $890 million. Wall Street had on average expected that to be about $885.7 million, according to StreetAccount. Adjusted earnings for the current quarter, meanwhile, are expected to range between 74 cents and 77 cents, the company guided — the consensus analyst estimate was only for 71 cents.