At first glance, LinkedIn LNKD -9.05%’s second quarter results, released Thursday after the close of markets, looked stellar.
After lowering its forecasts earlier in the year, reorganizing its sales unit and trying new advertising strategies, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company beat revenue and earnings expectations and raised its forecast for the remainder of the year. Shares shot up as much as 15% in after-hours trading.
But investors’ enthusiasm didn’t last.
During LinkedIn’s conference call, shares gave up their gains and quickly dipped as much as 9% to $207, before rebounding slightly, as investors questioned the growth of the network’s core business. Shares, which have been roughly flat this year, had closed down 2.1% to $227.15 during regular trading.
So why did investor’s mood changed so quickly? Here are four reasons:
Lynda.com: The bump in LinkedIn’s annual revenue forecast can mostly be ascribed to the network’s acquisition of online video tutorial library Lynda.com. The $1.5-billion acquisition, which closed in May, is now expected to generate about $90 million in sales during 2015. That figure is more than double LinkedIn’s earlier $40 million sales forecast for the website. On the earnings call, LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner said Lynda’s sales forecast rose in part because the sale closed earlier than expected. That means the trajectory of LinkedIn’s core business is unchanged from when it lowered forecasts earlier this year.
A Boost to 2015 Revenue Forecast, But a Small One: The bump in LinkedIn’s revenue guidance was not only small — $2.94 billion, up from the $2.9 billion – but also much of it was realized in the current quarter. That means the second half of the year isn’t looking any better than it had before the earnings call.
Display Ad Sales Drop: Traditional display ads are a declining business generally, so it isn’t surprising that the trend is hurting LinkedIn. It didn’t help the stock that LinkedIn said its display ad sales were down 30% in the second-quarter from the same period a year earlier. This drop will likely continue, as more than half of users now access LinkedIn on mobile devices.
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