LinkedIn Preps for 2011 IPO: Report

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- LinkedIn, the social network aimed at professionals, will likely file for an initial public offering during the first quarter of this year, according to Reuters.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based business has selected Bank of America ( BAC), JPMorgan ( JPM), and Morgan Stanley ( MS) to underwrite the IPO.

LinkedIn began prepping for an IPO before news hit about a $500 million investment in Facebook from Goldman Sachs ( GS) and Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies, the report said.

LinkedIn could pave the way for other high-profile, venture capital-backed companies that might be considering filing this year.

"Assuming LinkedIn reveals impressive financials and delivers a strong performance, it should be just one more proof-point, likely to convince other boards anxious-for-an-exit-but-still-nervous-about-the-markets to rev the engines and pull on to the IPO track," said Lise Buyer, founder of Class V Group, which advises private companies on public offerings.

While 72 venture-backed companies went public in 2010 -- up from a mere 12 in 2009, according to the National Venture Capital Association -- few prominent startups chose to take this path last year. Some tech watchers were hoping for IPO news last year from popular social networking sites like Twitter, Groupon and social gaming company Zynga.

LinkedIn, founded by former PayPal executive Reid Hoffman, is currently valued at around $1 billion on SharesPost, a marketplace for privately-held companies.

The company has more than 85 million members in 200 countries.

--Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/Ozoran.

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