Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

LinkedIn’s Dan Nye Speaks!


The rumors have been a-flyin’ recently about the reported talks between LinkedIn and News Corp.

Billing itself as the “professional” social network, the serious cousin to the party-hearty twins of MySpace and Facebook, the LinkedIn service is squarely aimed at those with a task in mind from networking to recruiting to career advancement.

In many ways, it is trying to be a business classified service with online presence and connection elements woven in. LinkedIn execs, in fact, throw around the term, “productivity tool,” much in the same way Facebook likes to talk about the joys of “SuperPoking” (by the way, not so joyful to adults).

With 16 million users from all sorts of sectors and spread out globally, LinkedIn getting a look-see by News Corp. makes a lot of sense. It just bought Dow Jones (owner of this site) and its flagship business newspaper The Wall Street Journal, and owns many newspapers, all of which need an online answer to the diminishing print employment-classified business.

In any case, I talked to newly installed LinkedIn CEO Dan Nye recently (before the recent rumors) about the company:

(I still am having problems with the Brightcove player, so I uploaded the video to YouTube.)

Better still, LinkedIn–which was founded by serial entrepreneur Reid Hoffman–actually makes some money on its premium services and listings, with revenues of $10 million in 2006. Company execs predict that revenue will grow to $75 million to $100 million next year.

That’s pocket change to a giant like News Corp., of course, although figures floated for the deal top $1 billion–a lofty number whose floaters are probably its investors looking to cash in.

That might be too pricey for News Corp., whose efforts in the arena are apparently being led by Executive Vice President Jeremy Philips. It has also looked at similar companies like Germany’s Xing (before the News Corp. purchase, Dow Jones was also reportedly eyeing Xing) and other such sites.

In addition, Hoffman and others at LinkedIn have talked about an IPO.

That possibility and any acquisition remains to be seen. LinkedIn Nye, who took over from Hoffman recently (the founder remains the company’s chairman), seems pretty confident.

In a piece published yesterday, Nye told Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky that it would take “a helluva lot” to get LinkedIn off the independent path. Well, we’ll see what a helluva weighs, I guess.