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LinkedIn now plans to sell shares at $42 to $45 each, up from a previous range of $32 to $35. At the middle of that range, the 9-year-old company would be valued at $4.11 billion, or about $40.30 per registered user.

The stock market reception to LinkedIn will be an important gauge of investor appetite for social networking, including the “Big Four” of the social media space — Facebook, Twitter, Groupon and Zynga — which are widely expected to go public in coming years.

LinkedIn’s growth has been rapid: It doubled its revenue last year to $243.1 million and posted net income for common shareholders of $3.4 million.

LinkedIn is priced at almost 17 times 2010 revenue, while Google Inc., by comparison, is trading at about six times sales.


Sony CEO defends response time to hacking

NEW YORK — Sony Corp.’s CEO was unapologetic about the company’s delay in informing the more than 100 million customers of its PlayStation Network whose account information was stolen by hackers last month.

In a stark departure from the remorseful tone struck just two weeks ago, when senior executives including heir apparent Kazuo Hirai bowed in apology in Tokyo, Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer fired back at critics of the company’s actions that led up to the attack and its response time to the crisis.

“This was an unprecedented situation,” Mr. Stringer told reporters on Tuesday, speaking publicly for the first time since the April breach. “Most of these breaches go unreported by companies. Forty-three percent [of companies] notify victims within a month. We reported in a week. You’re telling me my week wasn’t fast enough?”

The attack, considered the biggest in Internet history, prompted the Japanese electronics giant to shut down its PlayStation Network and other services for close to a month.

Critics slammed the company for waiting up to a week before telling its customers of the attack and the possible theft of credit card information, prompting lawmakers and state attorneys general to launch investigations.

Sony said it expected to face monetary charges from the break-in but was still assessing the damage.

From wire dispatches and staff reports