Piper Jaffray Raises Price Target for LinkedIn Corp Following Strong Q3 Results And Guidance

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster weighed in today with a favorable report on LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD), reiterating an Overweight rating and raising the price target to $287 (from $240), after the company posted a strong third-quarter, with each of its major segments beating expectations. LinkedIn shares reacted to the news, rising 11.01% to $240.89 on heavy volume, making it among the top winners today.

Munster noted, “We view the Q4 guide up as a solid indicator of the business for two reasons. First, it is a strong statement given that the management team has historically taken a conservative approach to numbers and have guided down vs the Street in 7 of the last 8 quarters (ex the Lynda impact last quarter). Second, the solid guide seems to indicate continued strength in the core Talent Solutions segment and stability in the Marketing Services segment. Given the guide, we are raising Q4’15E revenue by slightly less than 1% and CY16E by 1.5%. We continue to expect EBITDA margins in the mid-20% range going forward.”

“We believe the most important takeaway from the report is that the company’s Hiring segment (Talent Solutions ex-Lynda) accelerated to 41% y/y growth from 33% in Q2 and 37% in Q1. The segment accelerated despite company caution around the possibility for it to do so given the size of the overall business. Additionally, Corporate Solutions Customers grew 31% from 33% in Q2 and 35% in Q3. While we don’t expect another acceleration in Q4, we believe the strong Q3 growth in Hiring should be calming to investors worried about the longer-term potential of the core subscription recruiting business,” the analyst continued.

According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Gene Munster has a total average return of 24% and a 69.5% success rate. Munster has a -1.9% average return when recommending LNKD, and is ranked #1 out of 3808 analysts.

Out of the 30 analysts polled by TipRanks, 24 rate LinkedIn Corp stock a Buy, while 6 rate the stock a Hold. With a return potential of 10.7%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $266.69.

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