LinkedIn sets price for Thursday IPO

Social network first to IPO gate, offering shares for $45 a pop

Hold on to your hat. The first of the social networking sites is about to launch its initial public offering, or IPO.

Professional social networking site LinkedIn is getting ready to go public on Thursday. The company announced Wednesday afternoon that it's offering up 7.8 million shares at $45 per share.

Specifically, LinkedIn is offering 4,827,804 shares, while 3,012,196 shares are being offered by selling stockholders.

The Wall Street Journal noted that at that stock price, LinkedIn is valued at more than $4 billion.

As little as a week and a half ago, the company was expected to begin offering its stock for between $32 and $35.

Anticipation for this IPO has been growing since LinkedIn, an online network of more than 100 million professionals in about 200 countries, will be the first social network to go public.

Despite being a second-tier player in the social networking world of Facebook and Twitter -- each of which has garnered worldwide attention and millions of users -- LinkedIn is the first one out of the IPO starting gate.

Late last September, reports began to hit that said Facebook was a few years away from its own IPO.

Peter Thiel, a Facebook board member, venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder, is reported to have said at the time that the company was looking at making an IPO sometime after late 2012.

With more than half a billion users and a massive online presence, Facebook would likely draw massive investor interest.

Trading of LinkedIn shares will begin Thursday morning on the New York Stock Exchange. LinkedIn will be traded under the symbol LNKD.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at  @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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