Mike Arrington hears that LinkedIn is looking for funding at a $1 billion valuation. We hear the same thing, with one additional nugget: We’re told, secondhand, that the company is quite close to actually getting a deal, or may have already closed it (as VentureBeat suggested yesterday).
Last month we pegged the company’s value at $1.3 billion, so we certainly think the story is plausible. But let’s leave aside the question of what it’s actually worth and consider who would be willing to pony up. A wise soul suggests that we’ll see Lehman Bros throw in, as Lehman likes to come in on deals with Sequoia and Sequoia has already invested in LinkedIn.
And/or suggestion: A la Slide and Ning, you’ll see fund managers like T Rowe Price, Fidelity and Legg Mason lining up.
But wait a minute: Isn’t throwing big slugs of money at a Web 2.0 company in the late stages of the bubble awfully risky for portfolio managers, who get very public grades on their performance?
Sure it is. But that’s over the long-term, our wiseman reminds us. In the near-term, Slide-like deals are actually safer for fund managers — precisely because the value of these closely-held companies won’t fluctuate overnight and leave them with an ugly loss to explain.
Could Slide, or Ning, or LinkedIn turn out to be worth much, much less than today’s investors are banking on? Of course they could. But we won’t find out for a while — and in a perverse way, that makes them more valuable.