LinkedIn shares skyrocket, has the tech bubble returned?
LinkedIn's first day as a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange has been by just about any measure a blockbuster success. After announcing Wednesday that it had raised $352.8 million in an initial public offering, pricing shares at $45, the stock shot up more than 109 percent to a closing price of $94.25.
At that level, the company would be worth a staggering $8.9 billion, and would have had the most successful IPO since Google's in 2004. It also certainly begins anew the talk among financial analysts of a new "tech bubble" developing in the sector.
There is reason to believe it could happen, as LinkedIn's success suggests that investors are once again not reluctant to pour money into promising tech brands. A similar situation occurred in the mid 1990s following Netscape's debut on Wall Street: a flurry of tech companies rush to cash in on investor's sudden love for anything tech.
It's not clear if investors have learned their lesson, but history is likely to repeat itself. Twitter, GroupOn, and Facebook are all companies that very well may follow LinkedIn's lead in seeking public investment and in all likelihood would generate as much if not more interest in their stock.
Some cautioned that LinkedIn's valuation could be artificially inflated, given the fact that it only had $243 million in revenue in 2010. Additionally, it benefitted from being one of the first major Web IPOs in years -- meaning pent-up demand for web stocks may have contributed to its meteoric rise.
"LinkedIn has that first mover advantage of being the first of its kind to come public," analyst Lee Simmons of Hoover's said in the Wall Street Journal, adding that if a company like Facebook had already gone public, LinkedIn wouldn't have seen such success.
Whether or not there may be another bubble forming in tech is arguable. In the 1990s, very few technology companies that filed for IPOs had any records of profitability or revenues, whereas today many do. Additionally, tech investors have gotten much smarter based on experience on what works and what doesn't.
Last time -- for lack of a better term -- it was a whole new world.