LinkedIn to go public in 2011

Professional social networking site LinkedIn is planning to go public in 2011, according to a number of sources close to Reuters.

It is believed that Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and JP Morgan approached LinkedIn in November 2010 with investment offers and that LinkedIn has agreed to employ the consortium as its financial underwriters.

The financial details of LinkedIn, including the company’s profits and overall evaluation, remain unknown, since the company does not make public its quarterly results. It is therefore difficult to estimate exactly how much of the company would be put up for public sale and how much people would have to fork over to grab a piece of the company.

LinkedIn was founded in 2002 and launched in 2003, a year before Facebook. It has 80 million members, a significant number, but a lot less than Facebook’s over half a billion.

LinkedIn said that an initial public offering is “only one of many tactics” that it may consider, but it refused to confirm or deny the reports.

LinkedIn may be attempting to get in before Facebook does, as Facebook is also intending to file an IPO, but not until 2012. Its recent investment deal with Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky Technologies could push it over the 499 shareholder limit for private firms, however, and force it to go public much sooner.