LinkedIn CEO, other insiders prepare to sell stock

November 15, 2011 By MICHAEL LIEDTKE , AP Technology Writer

LinkedIn Corp.'s employees and early backers plan to sell more than 6.7 million shares as they try to reap the gains from a rapid run-up in the online professional networking service's market value.

CEO Jeff Weiner wants to sell more than 372,000 shares, the most among LinkedIn's management. The company listed the amounts in a regulatory filing Monday.

After two years as LinkedIn's CEO, Weiner is in line for a $29 million windfall from the sale. That's based on Monday's closing price of $78.49 for LinkedIn's shares. The stock sold for $45 per in an completed in May.

Investors are betting LinkedIn is still in the early stages of its growth as it tries to reshape the way people try to advance their careers. Since its 2003 inception, LinkedIn has attracted more than 135 million members who have posted details about their current and past jobs on the company's website.

Weiner, 41, will still own 2.3 million shares after his stock sale is completed.

Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn's co-founder and executive chairman, isn't selling any of his nearly 19 million shares. That stake is currently worth about $1.5 billion.

LinkedIn, which is based in Mountain View, plans to sell nearly 1.3 million additional shares to help finance its expansion. The company announced its plans to sell the stock earlier this month, but hadn't spelled out how many shares it would offer until Monday. The sale aims to raise about $100 million to supplement the $367 million that LinkedIn already had in the bank as of Sept. 30.

The mass stock sales will test investors' faith in LinkedIn by nearly doubling the number of shares circulating on the . LinkedIn's IPO sold about 9 million shares. Including LinkedIn's fundraising effort, at least 8 million shares are supposed to be sold this time around.

LinkedIn's shares have fallen by about 10 percent since the company reported a third-quarter loss of $1.6 million on Nov. 3. They slipped $2.49, or 3.2 percent, to $76 in extended trading after the company made the SEC filing.

Most of the stock in this offering is being sold by three venture capital firms that invested in LinkedIn before the . Bain Capital Venture Integral Investors plans to sell all 3.7 million LinkedIn shares that it owns. Greylock Ventures plans to sell 10 percent of its 14 million LinkedIn shares and Bessemer Venture Partners plans to sell 11 percent of its nearly 4. 6 million shares.

Other big sellers include: Allen Blue, another co-founder who is offering more than 118,000 shares: Steven Sordello, LinkedIn's chief financial officer, who is offering more than 98,000 shares; and Dipchand "Deep" Nishar, a senior vice president in charge of products who is offering 94,500 shares.

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