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Xing Rises on Speculation of LinkedIn Takeover Interest

Xing AG rose to a record on speculation that LinkedIn Corp. may buy the German provider of online business-networking services.

The shares gained as much as 13 percent, the steepest intraday increase since the stock started trading in December 2006. Xing traded 7.9 percent higher at 76.75 euros as of 2:47 p.m. in Frankfurt, valuing the company at 419 million euros ($559 million). Xing and LinkedIn declined to comment.

“There are rumors that LinkedIn is preparing a bid to acquire Xing,” Alexander Braun, a Frankfurt-based analyst at Montega AG, said by phone today.

A takeover would require Mountain View, California-based LinkedIn to persuade Hubert Burda Media Holding GmbH to reduce its 52.6 percent stake in Hamburg-based Xing. The German company, which traditionally managed print publications, is focusing more on digital businesses and Xing is a strategic investment for them, Braun said.

“It is unrealistic that Burda will sell unless the sum of the bid is absurdly high,” the analyst said.

Burda first acquired 29.4 percent of Xing’s stock in 2009 and raised its stake to 59.2 percent in December 2012, prompting speculation among analysts about a possible bid by LinkedIn. Burda sold a 6.6 percent stake to an institutional investor in February.

“The share price of Xing is extremely expensive for LinkedIn to step in right now,” Marcus Silbe, a Frankfurt-based analyst at Close Brothers Seydler Research AG said by phone today.

Xing shares have doubled in the past year. Trading volume today was more than quadruple the three-month daily average.

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