LinkedIn said to be preparing IPO

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Mountain View, Calif.—Business-oriented social networking company LinkedIn Corp. is reported to be readying an initial public offering for the first quarter of the year.

First reported by The Wall Street Journal, sources close to LinkedIn said it has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley to handle the IPO.

News agency Reuters cited sources speculating that LinkedIn may be intent on becoming the first social networking site to go public to help ensure a solid level of interest. This week, Facebook edged closer to its own IPO, as major investor Goldman Sachs Group offered participation in a $1.5 billion offering to its clients.

LinkedIn declined to comment on the reports, although Shannon Stubo Brayton, a LinkedIn spokeswoman, said in a statement, “an IPO is one of many tactics that we could choose to pursue.”

Founded in 2003, LinkedIn reports 85 million members in more than 200 countries.

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