LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman (L) just before ringing the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange during the company's initial public offering on May 19, 2011. Even though it got shellacked on Monday, shares of LinkedIn are still trading at more than twice the original IPO price.
The first big social-media company to hold an IPO this year, LinkedIn's success has fed interest - some say a frenzy - in other Internet companies going public. Before LinkedIn's stock debut, the average opening-day gain for an IPO this year had been 13.8 percent.After its listing, LinkedIn was briefly worth $11bn. On paper, that put Hoffman's stake in the company at more than $1.6 billion.
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Arkady Volozh was already a very rich man with a personal net worth estimated at some $900 million. Now he's about to add to that fortune. The company he co-founded, Yandex N.V., operates Russia's largest search engine with a monthly audience over 58 million users. Yandex's IPO is slated to take place on Tuesday (priced at about twice the price of Google relative to earnings). Considering the excitement around LinkedIn's smash debut as a public company, Volozh couldn't ask for better timing.
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OK, don't be shy. How many of you thought the idea of basing a business around developing games for Facebook's platform was dorky, to say the least, if not, well, downright silly. But as we've seen from the history of publishers like Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive and Activision, among others, games can be serious business. So it is with Zynga, which develops games like Farmville and Mafia Wars. The company sells an estimated $500 million a year in virtual goods on Facebook, where it attracts more than 275 million users each month.
Valuations for the company range between $7 billion and $10 billion. There's still a bit of a guessing game over the timing. Despite speculation that Zynga may try to go public before Facebook, founder and CEO Mark Pincus so far has displayed little interest in scheduling an IPO this year.
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Groupon CEO Andrew Mason is either crazy like a fox - or simply crazy. Last year he reportedly turned down a buyout offer from Google said to have been between $5 billion and $6 billion. The news had people wondering whether Mason would wind up as yet another young tech exec who gambled wrongly. But it now appears that he's going to have the final word. Sources report that the company has held discussions with investment bankers about a public offering this year that would value Groupon at $25 billion.
Not bad for a two-year-old startup.
Groupon offers daily discounts with a collective buying model requiring a minimum number of people need to buy into a deal before gets activated. The buyer gets a bargain while the proceeds get shared between the merchant and Groupon.
Bob Parsons, the CEO and founder of GoDaddy.com, is anything but the retiring type. Earlier this year, he was briefly caught up in a controversy surrounding his African hunting safaris. But for Parsons and GoDaddy, no publicity is bad publicity - and it's paying off. The Internet registry company actually was ready to go public in 2006 - it filed for the IPO but then changed his mind. (Here's Parsons' explanation.) The company was then shopped around for a reported $1 billion. But if it decides to cash in on the renewed frenzy about Internet stocks, Parsons would be in line for an even bigger payday.