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Facebook-for-suits biz LinkedIn shares drop on weakened 2014 outlook

Rushes out and buys startup to bolster job vacancy biz

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Shares in business networking site LinkedIn have dropped 7.8 per cent in after-hours trading, struggling back from an earlier low of 15 per cent, after it predicted weaker-than-expected results for the first quarter.

The professional network said that it now anticipates revenue in the quarter of between $455m and $460m, falling behind analyst projections of around the $469m mark.

The fall in share price follows the drubbing Twitter took in the markets yesterday, when the microblogging site lost around a quarter of its value within minutes of the start of trading in New York after it also reported disappointing results.

For the fourth quarter, LinkedIn said that revenue grew by nearly 50 per cent to $447.2m compared to the same time last year. But net income plummeted to $3.8m, compared to $11.5m in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The site is running into the usual trouble of social networks in monetising growing mobile traffic, but it has been making moves to try to find new sources of revenue. The company is investing heavily in its job vacancy service, announcing that it has just paid around $120m for Bright Media, a startup that uses algorithms to match candidates with potential employers.

LinkedIn chief exec Jeff Weiner also said that the network is planning to expand into China and has appointed a new head of operations there.

"We are investing significantly in a focused number of long-term initiatives that will allow us to realise our vision to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce," he said in a statement. ®

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