DealZone

Deals wrap: Copycats sure to follow LinkedIn

A day after LinkedIn’s shares more than doubled in their public trading debut, analysts are scrambling to explain why the stock exploded and figure out what happens next.

The professional networking site’s IPO was being closely watched by Facebook, Groupon, Twitter and Zynga to gauge investors’ appetite for Internet companies.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg described a public offering of Facebook shares as “inevitable,” while Evelyn M. Rusli over on DealBook predicts a surge in Internet IPO’s but doesn’t think the market is setting itself up for another tech bubble burst.

It wasn’t just the big four social media sites waiting to go public that were salivating at LinkedIn’s record day, would-be rivals to LinkedIn were also giddy with excitement.

As for future opportunities for investors, Shira Ovide of WSJ.com gives her three reasons to be wary going forward. Nigam Arora of Seeking Alpha also advises investors to be cautious but gives four low risk ways to make money from LinkedIn.

DirecTV adds to media merger excitement

With media titans GE and Vivendi still negotiating a deal to bring cable operator Comcast into a mega-media joint venture, a management move at DirecTV is giving dealwatchers a fresh programming alternative.

Yinka Adegoke and Sinead Carew report the appointment of PepsiCo veteran Michael White (pictured below), who has no experience in pay TV, as DirecTV CEO is being read as a sign the company’s parent, Liberty Media, just wants a baby-sitter until its sells the operation in the next couple of years.

Telecom leaders Verizon and AT&T approached Liberty earlier this year, they report. Both have cross-marketing deals with DirecTV and would leapfrog the rest of the market with the addition of DirecTV’s subscriber base. But fears of insurmountable regulatory resistance put those talks on ice.

But Siriusly

IAC-LIBERTY/TRIALJohn Malone probably won’t lose much sleep over his $530 million loan to Sirius XM Radio. His media empire, Liberty Media, has a market cap of $12.4 billion, so Malone’s 40 percent stake in Sirius XM may be something of a punt. And in the satellite broadcasting industry, Malone certainly has a good leg.

Sirius XM has a big debt pile — $3.25 billion, with $171.6 million due today — but it also has a sexy subscriber base of 20 million users, which rivals the top cable operations in the country. Malone and rival Charles Ergan would have been looking at that number as a palliative for the exorbitant talent contracts Sirius boss Mel Karmazin has (Thanks, KB)  doled out to Howard Stern, Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart.

Liberty shareholders might have wanted Malone to wait for the bankruptcy to hit and bid for the satellites and other pieces. But Ergan, owner of EchoStar and Dish Network and holder of the Sirius XM debt coming due today, would have the pole position in an asset sale.

Stockholder activism: just a game of chess

chess.jpgThe Delaware court ruled in favor of Jana Partners, allowing the hedge fund and its partners to nominate directors to CNET Networks’ board, come the next shareholder meeting.

But that decision is “just another move on the chess board,” according to CNET’s CEO Neil Ashe. In an e-mail to employees, Ashe compared fights between activist shareholders and managements for board control to chess matches.

“Remember, stockholder activism is more common place today,” Ashe wrote. “We are not alone. The New York Times and IAC are both addressing similar situations. As I’ve said since the beginning, this is like a chess match.”