Monday, June 13, 2016

Microsoft picks up LinkedIn for $26bn; Investors stay cautious in Asia; Thirty years to 30% women in financial boardrooms

1 Microsoft picks up LinkedIn for $26.2bn (Sean Farrell in The Guardian) It took just 14 years for LinkedIn to grow from a brainwave in a tech entrepreneur’s living room to a $26.2bn takeover target. Reid Hoffman, 48, hatched the idea for LinkedIn from his apartment in December 2002 – shortly after eBay bought online payment service PayPal, where he was CEO.

Before joining PayPal as its main troubleshooter, Hoffman had been an early pioneer of social networks after launching SocialNet in the late 1990s. SocialNet allowed people to meet each other online using pseudonyms but Hoffman’s successor idea – LinkedIn – brought professionals face to face in the online marketplace.

Hoffman’s new site, which aimed to let people build a professional online network and launched with help from former SocialNet colleagues, went live in 2003. Hoffman was an early investor in Facebook in 2005 but he believed people would want a separate site to manage their professional lives and persevered with LinkedIn.

The company attracted capital from venture capital investors, starting in 2003 when Sequoia Capital took a stake. In 2008 Sequoia and other firms bought 5% for $53m, valuing LinkedIn at about $1bn. The company floated on the New York stock exchange in 2011, valued at $4.3bn.

LinkedIn has continued to attract members, growing from about 100 million when it floated, to more than 433 million in 200 countries now. Last year, LinkedIn’s revenues were almost $3bn but it recorded a net loss of $166m. Most of its income is from the “talent solutions” division, which charges recruiters to advertise jobs and use the company’s data.

Before Microsoft’s acquisition was announced, LinkedIn shares were trading at $131, almost three times their $45 value at flotation, but down from a peak of $269 in February 2015.

2 Investors stay cautious in Asia (BBC) Investors across Asia remained cautious again on Tuesday ahead of several key events in the coming two weeks, including the UK's EU referendum.

In addition to worries over the UK's upcoming referendum, investors are also eying the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan, both of which are set to hold meetings this week. Most analysts have said it is unlikely either central bank will announce rate cuts, however.

3 Thirty years away from 30% females in financial boardroom (Khaleej Times) It will take 30 years at the current pace of change for women to attain just 30 per cent of the seats on executive committees in the financial services industry globally, an Oliver Wyman report says.

Globally, women account for only one-fifth of boards and 16 per cent of executive committees in financial services, the management consultancy said. Thirty per cent is the level at which research suggests a minority's voice can be heard and a separate initiative called The 30 Percent Club campaigns for a similar global target for company boards.

The global financial services industry has long been seen as male-dominated. Female executives in financial services are 20 to 30 per cent more likely to leave their employers than their peers in other industries, citing inflexible working hours, inequalities in promotion and pay, and unconscious bias, the report found.

Only eight per cent of CEOs are women whilst 50 per cent of HR heads are women, according to the report. In banking and insurance, women make up only 14 per cent of executive committees compared to 22 per cent and 18 per cent in the public sector and asset management sectors, respectively.

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