I’m just getting back from an exciting trip to LinkedIn in London, another in my series of sales training visits. LinkedIn’s office is located right in central London on New Oxford Street. It’s a great location if you want to shop in Oxford Circus area or hit a play on the West End. Of course for most of this trip I was training. But I brought my wife along and she had plenty of time to shop and attend a play. She was having two great days of West End play and shopping while I was having two great days for finance.
It was another great class, as with the Singapore group most of the students were already fairly familiar with finance (especially for a sales group). The groups at LinkedIn are pretty senior and they did well on the pretest assessment scoring significantly higher than the US national average.
There were a lot of questions as I was training and some great follow-up during the practical side of the class. I was also able to sit in and contribute as other members of the sales team presented and showed how financial metrics had been used on their key accounts. This training continues to evolve and it seems to be more effective each session.
This group was very interested in goodwill and how it impacts the business. We don’t typically go over the balance sheet in these sessions, but this group pushed there with their questions about goodwill and acquisitions. The review of the Microsoft analysts call was very useful to this group as well. Of course there is a lot of interest in Microsoft with the announcement of their acquisition of LinkedIn. Microsoft is acquiring LinkedIn for an announced $29 Billion. That price works out to an EBITDA multiple of roughly 99. We had some interesting discussions as to why Microsoft would offer that kind of multiple when the 30-40 range would be more typical for a mature business in this segment. Perhaps, with the money that companies like Facebook and Google are throwing at start-up businesses in their segments that have yet to even make it to a positive EBITDA there may be no industry norm.
The group was great and we had truly great weather for London, finance or not. I spent the day on Friday with my wife to hit the town. Of course, we did some more shopping and then it was on to the Globe Theater to see Macbeth. Good day and a great play, that Macbeth guy sure knew how to make a mess. Murder is never a good idea! It’s always fun to see Shakespeare at the Globe!