LinkedIn slashes full-year profit forecast

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(Reuters) – LinkedIn Corp slashed its full-year profit forecast, citing slower growth at its hiring business and a delay in recognizing the contribution, the online education has agreed to buy.

Shares of LinkedIn fell as much as 27 percent after the bell on Thursday.

The professional network operator agreed this month to buy for about $1.5 billion and expects to close the acquisition in the second quarter.

The company expects revenue contribution from Lynda to be delayed as it works its way to complete the integration.

Chief Financial Officer Steve Sordello said he expected revenue contribution from the acquisition to “normalize” in the second half of 2016.

LinkedIn forecast 2015 profit of $1.90 per share, excluding items, on revenue of about $2.90 billion. It had earlier forecast earnings of $2.95 per share on revenue of $2.93 billion to $2.95 billion.

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Revenue growth from the company’s hiring business slowed to 36 percent for the first quarter ended March 31. The business, which the company calls Talent Solutions, accounted for about 62 percent of total revenue.

Mountain View, California-based LinkedIn reported a net loss attributable to shareholders of $42.5 million, or 34 cents per share, for the first quarter, compared $13.4 million, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose to $637.7 million from $473.2 million.

Excluding items, the company earned 57 cents per share.

The company’s shares closed at $252.13 on the New York Stock Exchange.