LinkedIn bursts onto the market with IPO

May 21, 2011

LinkedIn, the professional networking company, debuted on the New York Stock Exchange to enthusiasm that recalled the frenetic days of the dot-com bubble. With its initial public offering of stock set at $45 a share, the site’s value hit $4.25 billion. In a flash, its executives became billionaires.

In the days before the IPO, investor demand pushed the price range of its shares from $32 each to $35 to $42 to $45. It was the biggest U.S. Internet IPO since Google’s debut in 2004.

LinkedIn’s share price climbed through Friday, rocketing its market value to $9.1 billion, or about 24 times its 2011 revenue, if first-quarter sales keep pace. The sale suggested a huge appetite for social-media stock. The ticker is LNKD.

Business

BP’s $16 billion deal to explore the Arctic with Rosneft, Russia’s state oil company, collapsed after BP failed to get joint venture partners at TNK-BP on board.

Google, with $37 billion in cash on hand, moved into the bond market with a $3 billion sale to pay back short-term borrowings at relative yields comparable to companies with the highest credit rating. Chief executive Larry Page is ramping up spending to expand in mobile and video advertising even as U.S. and European authorities investigate Google’s business practices.

World Trade Organization upheld U.S. allegations that Airbus benefited from improper government subsidies. The ruling marks a final step in a protracted battle between the United States and Europe over government support for Boeing and Airbus.

Amazon, the largest online retailer, said sales of e-books have overtaken those of printed versions for the first time. It sells 105 e-books for every 100 printed ones.

Citigroup awarded chief executive Vikram Pandit a $23.2 million retention package. With profit sharing, he could take in much more.

Nasaq and ICE’s $11 billion hostile bid for the New York Stock Exchange was killed by the Justice Department, which said it would create a near monopoly. That leaves Deutsche Boerse’s original bid for NYSE in play.

NFL owners can continue to lock out players while they appeal an order to end the lockout, a judge ruled.

Berkshire Hathaway bought a stake in MasterCard in the first quarter and reduced its stake in ConocoPhillips.

BP and ConocoPhillips scrapped a $35 billion project to build a natural gas pipeline from Alaska to the lower 48.

Sony chief Howard Stringer said he could not guarantee the security of the company’s videogame network, cited “bad new world” of cybercrime.

Amtrak’s chief said losses for the government-subsidized rail system would increase this year, despite growing ridership.

The European Commission raided offices of the world’s biggest shipping lines in an antitrust investigation.

Mitsui, which had a 10 percent interest in the blown out Macondo well, agreed to pay BP $1.1 billion to help cover costs of the Gulf oil spill.

Deals

Spyker Cars, the Dutch automaker that owns cash-strapped Saab, said Chinese auto dealer Pangda Automobile Trade agreed to buy a stake, four days after a deal with Hawtai Motor Group collapsed. Pangda will take a 24 percent holding in Spyker for $92 million.

Barnes & Noble said online retail, media and communications conglomerate Liberty Media offered to buy it for $17 a share, or $1.02 billion.

The Washington Post Co.’s Kaplan division has sold its business providing online courses for high school students to K12, a Herndon-based company. The unit provided courses through public and private schools.

Earnings

Lowe’s profit fell 6 percent to $461 million in the first quarter, as bad weather kept customers indoors.

JCPenney’s first-quarter profit rose nearly 7 percent to $64 million, as the company’s middle-class customers kept spending despite rising prices for gas, groceries and some clothing items.

Hewlett-Packard cut $1 billion from its sales forecast for the year and missed analysts’ profit projections as consumers shunned PCs and services margins narrowed. Chief executive Leo Apotheker warned top deputies to prepare for a tough run.

Economy

Fed officials have outlined a plan for gradually tightening financial conditions when the economy has recovered enough to sustain them, according to meeting minutes.

Payrolls grew in 42 U.S. states, while the unemployment rate fell in 39, indicating broad-based strengthening in the labor market.

New-home construction in the United States unexpectedly fell 10.6 percent in April as flooding and tornadoes in the South shut down construction sites and home builders continued to struggle almost two years into an economic recovery.

Japan’s economy contracted at a rate of 3.7 percent in the first quarter, dragged down by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.

European Central Bank officials vetoed a debt restructuring plan for Greece. Fitch Ratings downgraded Greece’s credit ratings.

Washington

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is planning to create a standard disclosure form that would give mortgage borrowers clearer information about the costs of their loans.

The EPA halted regulation to help cut pollution from boilers at oil refineries and other plants after industry complaints about cost of compliance.

Transitions

Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as head of the International Monetary Fund. He awaits trial on charges of sexual assault of a hotel maid. He posted $1 million bail and is under house arrest. French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is a candidate to replace him.

Dish Network said Charlie Ergen will step down as chief executive, freeing him to handle strategic responsibilities for the company and Echostar.

Space Shuttle Endeavour launched for its final mission, commanded by Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Donald Trump said he will not run for president. NBC renewed “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger, separated from wife Maria Shriver after the revelation that he fathered a child with a former housekeeper, has put his movie projects on hold.

Katie Couric signed off the CBS Evening News for the final time after a five-year run.

Compiled from The Washington Post and news services

$15.3
billion
in quarterly losses for Tepco

President Masataka Shimizu resigned as the Fukushima nuclear crisis battered the utility’s performance. The loss was the biggest ever for a non-financial Japanese company. A March 11 quake and tsunami crippled its Dai-Ichi nuclear plant. The utility will seek low-interest loans from Japanese private and state-run banks.

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