SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — LinkedIn began the year with its largest quarterly loss since going public as the online professional networking service ramped up its investments in projects aimed at attracting more users on the lookout for better jobs and career advice.
Despite the setback, the first-quarter results announced Thursday surpassed the analyst projections that sway investors. LinkedIn has cleared Wall Street's financial hurdles in all 12 of its quarters as a public company, a stretch dating back to May 2011.
Nevertheless, LinkedIn Corp. has fallen out of favor with investors amid concerns about the company's rising expenses and slowing revenue growth. Management issued a forecast indicating those trends will extend into the current quarter ending in June.
LinkedIn's stock shed $7.02, or 4.4 percent, to $154.20 in Thursday's extended trading. The shares are about 40 percent below their all-time high of $257.56 reached last September. LinkedIn's stock nearly doubled in value last year, enabling CEO Jeff Weiner to reap a nearly $170 million windfall by exercising some of the stock options he has accumulated since joining the company in 2008.
Despite the stock-price drop, LinkedIn remains intent on investing in projects aimed at connecting more workers with employers and recruiters.
"Given the opportunities we have in front of us, we're really investing here for the long haul," LinkedIn Chief Financial Officer Steve Sordello said during a Thursday conference call with analysts.
The Mountain View-based company is plowing more money into mobile applications, hiring employees and developing services designed to attract more users and more frequent visits to the company's website to help sell more advertising. Most of LinkedIn's revenue still comes from fees that employers and recruiters pay to gain greater access to the profiles posted on the networking service.
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