LinkedIn to IPO later today?

After months of “will they? won’t they?”, it looks like it’s about to happen: LinkedIn is set to file for an IPO.

Although LinkedIn hasn’t yet confirmed the imminent IPO, documents submitted to the US Securities and Exchange Commission certainly point to a LinkedIn IPO.

Sources told the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital that LinkedIn is on the cusp of submitting an S-1 filing to the SEC. This is the first step in the IPO process, and could happen as early as this afternoon.

All Things Digital reports that the offering is likely to be led by Morgan Stanley, while Goldman Sachs – a LinkedIn investor – could be part of the underwriting team.

A LinkedIn IPO would be the first of several large Internet businesses to float this year. Rumours continue to swirl around Facebook, for example, which is being confronted by the SEC’s keep-to-under-500-investors-or-float rule (yes, I know it’s not called that, but that’s basically what it says. Let’s keep it simple!).

LinkedIn has every reason in the world to IPO sooner rather than later. As previously reported, LinkedIn should – nay, needs – to IPO before Facebook does, or it will lose the first-mover advantage. Who would pay any attention to LinkedIn’s IPO if Facebook floated first?

Set up in December 2002 by internet entrepreneur Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn turned profitable in 2007, the same year that LinkedIn hit one million members in the UK. LinkedIn is now the world’s largest professional social networking site, with over 85 million members in over 200 countries. LinkedIn is currently valued at around $2.2bn.

What’s LinkedIn worth? Quite a bit – analysts frequently cite $2bn, but floating it on the public markets could shore this up even more.

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