Shares in XING skyrocket on buyout rumours

Why are shares in XING, the German-born business social network that competes most with LinkedIn in Europe, skyrocketing?

Rumors are reaching me that prominent stakeholders in XING – current and former employees – are taking advantage of this moment to offload significant share stakes, and who can blame them. So why the spike? Well, it appears there is chatter of a buyout deal in the offing. But who would want to buy XING? Well the obvious answer is LinkedIn. Such a deal would consolidate its position in Europe, making it basically unassailable in business networks.

A month ago XING was worth about $213m but that’s now hit around $221m and it’s going up by the minute given that it’s publicly traded, and has been for two and a half years. But LinkedIn is worth over $1 billion and has 43 million members to XING’s 7.5 million. So XING shareholders may well agree to a takeover, wanting to get in on LinkedIn’s valuation when the IPO market presumably returns, perhaps next year.

XING recently launched it’s OpenSocial apps, mostly German ones. Will there also be some consolidation news also for Viadeo, the French-born LinkedIn competitor? I do hope so.