LinkedIn chairman hints at IPO in 2009

LinkedIn is off the block, cofounder Reid Hoffman told the Sydney Morning Herald. "We have had (buyout) conversations with all the usual suspects, but I think an IPO is by far and away the most likely outcome," Hoffman said. He suggested, however, that such a public offering might not happen for at least another year or two. One ex-LinkedIn exec said that's much too long a wait.

With LinkedIn projected to earn 2008 revenue between $75 million to $100 million, former LinkedIn exec Keith Rabois, now at Slide, told the paper Hoffman and company need to go public sooner rather than later.

"Right now, LinkedIn just doesn't seem to be at the center of the Internet universe and an IPO would be an amazing marketing opportunity," he said.

Others aren't so bullish. After CEO Dan Nye said the company would only sell for "a lot more" than $1 billion, Silicon Alley Insider guffawed, noting that career site TheLadders.com recently poached LinkedIn's former head of corporate sales, Brendon Cassidy, with ease. Would he have stayed if he believed in LinkedIn's revenue upside? That's the question the Herald should have asked Rabois.