LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD) is the leading online professional network with more than 200 million registered members. Members utilize the network to connect with professional contacts and to create an "online professional identity;" professional recruiters use the network to locate talent; and, advertisers come to the network to target users with particularly attractive demographics. Its shares rose during the quarter as the company exceeded its earnings expectations and issued strong forward earnings guidance. In addition, the company showed encouraging improvements in various metrics that indicate its users are spending more time engaged with its network. Although LinkedIn appears expensive based on its near-term results, we hold the shares because we believe it is a unique platform asset, which has significant opportunity to capture a greater share of a $27 billion global market for talent acquisition and a $25 billion market for business to business advertising.
From Baron Funds’ first quarter 2013 letter.