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Ads, memberships boost networking site

Paul Sakuma/Associated Press/File 2011

LinkedIn forecast first-quarter revenue of $170 million to $175 million, compared with a $170.5 million average estimate.

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Professional networking website LinkedIn Corp. rose the most since November after it reported fourth quarter sales that more than doubled and forecast higher 2012 revenue, buoyed by ads and subscriptions. LinkedIn said membership jumped to more than 150 million from 131.2 million the previous period. The fourth quarter “exceeded our expectations for member engagement and business growth,’’ chief executive Jeff Weiner said. Fourth-quarter revenue rose to $167.7 million, the company said. That topped an average estimate of $159.8 million. The company may face increased competition from Facebook, which recently filed for an IPO. BranchOut Inc., a start-up, is building a professional network on Facebook, taking advantage of its 845 million users. BranchOut said it added more than 50 million members in the past two months.

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