LinkedIn, Pandora shares suffering post-IPO

Ronny Kerr · July 18, 2011 · Short URL:

Two months and one month after respective successful public offerings, some bad news

Is the social media public market party ending this quickly?

LinkedIn saw its shares drop $7.53 (6.85 percent) on Monday, from $109.97 to $102.44, after analysts at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. reduced their stock-recommendation rating from “overweight” to “neutral,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

"Our move to neutral here is based on valuation rather than fundamental concerns," said J.P. Morgan Internet analyst Doug Anmuth in a note to clients. "We believe the risk/reward in the shares is now more balanced at current levels."

J.P. Morgan is the first underwriter from LinkedIn’s IPO to downgrade the stock since the offering debuted in mid-May. The firm has maintained $85 as a price target for the company’s shares.

Though LinkedIn's prices have dropped considerably in a very short amount of time, they're still above the first day closing price of $94.25.

LinkedIn isn’t the only prominent tech company suffering on the public market.

Shares of Pandora, the music discovery site that went public a little over a month ago, aren’t doing too hot either--but for different reasons. The company’s stock closed at $16.95 down 83 cents (4.67 percent) from the last closing of $17.83. On its first day of trading on June 15, Pandora had closed at $17.79 a share, or nine percent higher than its $16 starting price.

Its market cap has also slipped, from $2.78 billion on that first day to $2.71 billion today.

Why all the drops? A little just-launched music service called Spotify. Music subscription sites are a dime a dozen these days, but Spotify had already acquired solid traction outside the U.S., and with that traction it had built up a lot of hype. When it finally launched stateside last week, the sleeping beast of hype awoke, worrying Pandora stakeholders that their little gem of a music service might not be able to weather the storm.

As Amazon, Google and Apple roll out their cloud music services, Pandora’s stock could become shakier.

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Pandora, the leading internet radio service, gives people music they love
anytime, anywhere, through a wide variety of connected devices: laptop and
desktop computers, smartphones, connected BluRay players, connected TVs,
etc. Personalized stations launch instantly with the input of a single “seed” –
a favorite artist, song or genre. The Music Genome Project®, a deeply
detailed, hand-built musical taxonomy, powers the personalization or
Pandora. Using this musicological “DNA” and constant listener feedback
Pandora crafts personalized stations from the more than 800,000 songs that
have been analyzed since the project began in January 2000.
More than 75 million people throughout the United States listen to
personalized radio stations for free on Pandora through their PCs, mobile
phones and devices such as the iPad, and connected in-house devices
ranging from TVs to set-top boxes to Blu-Ray players. Mobile technology has
been a significant factor in the growth and popularity of Pandora, starting
with the introduction of the Apple app store for the iPhone in the summer of
2008. Pandora instantly became one of the most top downloaded apps and
today, according to Nielsen, is one of the top five most popular apps across
all smartphone platforms.

Pandora is free, simple and, thanks to connectivity, available everywhere
consumers are – at the office, at home, in the car and all points in between.
In 2009 the Company announced that Pandora would be incorporated into
the dashboard in Ford cars via SYNC technology; GM has already followed in
announcing plans to integrate Pandora into its vehicles and Mercedes-Benz
introduced their Media Interface Plus device that works with the
free Pandora iPhone app to provide direct control of Pandora from in-dash
stereo controls. This was all great news for the millions of Pandora listeners
who had been plugging their smartphones into car dashboards to listen to
personalized stations while driving. More than 50 percent of radio listening
happens in the car, making it a crucial arena for Pandora.

Today tens of millions of people have a deeply personal connection with
Pandora based on the delight of personalized radio listening and discovery.
These highly engaged listeners reinforce the value Pandora provides to: 1)
musicians, who have found in Pandora a level playing field on which their
music has a greater chance of being played than ever before; 2) advertisers,
who benefit from the multi-platform reach of Pandora, as well as its best
practices in targeting consumers for specific campaigns; 3) the music
industry, which has found in Pandora a highly effective distribution channel;
and 4) automobile and consumer electronics device manufacturers, who have
noted that incorporating Pandora into their product makes it more valuable
to consumers.

Pandora continues to focus on its business in the United States. The radio
arena has never been hotter, thanks to technology that enables radio to be
personalized to the individual and more accessible than ever before. Right
now millions of people listen to Pandora in the United States and we hope
someday to bring Pandora to billions of people around the world.

• 2000 – Tim Westergren’s Music Genome Project begins.
• 2005 – Pandora launches on the web.
• 2008 – Pandora app becomes one of the most consistently downloaded
apps in the Apple store.
• 2009 – Ford announces Pandora will be incorporated into car
dashboard. Alpine and Pioneer begin selling aftermarket radios that
connect to consumers’ iPhones and puts the control and command of
Pandora into the car dashboard.
• 2010 – Pandora is present on more than 200 connected consumer
electronics devices ranging from smartphones to TVs to set-top boxes
to Blu-ray players and is able to stream visual, audio, and interactive
advertising to computers, smartphones, iPads, and in-home connected