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LinkedIn IPO Is Biggest Since Google's--But Is It Too Big?

UPDATE: LinkedIn shares, under the symbol LNKD, increased 84 percent when trading started Thursday morning on the New York Stock Exchange, debuting at $83 a share and hitting $90 a share. That places LinkedIn's value at around $7.5 billion.

PREVIOUSLY: The initial public offering for LinkedIn, a career-oriented social networking site, marks the biggest Internet company IPO since Google went public in 2004.

Shares of the eight year-old company, which made just $15.4 million in 2010, were priced at $45 apiece, bringing the company's total estimated market value to around $4.25 billion, around $1 billion higher than initial estimates. The valuation makes LinkedIn worth more than well-heeled companies such as Kodak and RiteAid.

Previously derided as a "Facebook for losers," LinkedIn's sky-high valuation suggests founder Reid Hoffman--now reportedly worth over $800 million--may be having the last laugh. At the same time however, it raises questions about the sustainability of these web businesses, and whether the bubble could burst.

So are investors paying far too much for LinkedIn--essentially a modern Rolodex--and will the company come to look less like Google, which continues to rake in cash, and more like the failed web firms of the 1990s?

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