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Yelp Prices IPO Above Estimated Range


Online review site Yelp, Inc. (YELP), known for rejecting lucrative takeover bids from Internet giants Google and Yahoo, on Friday announced an initial public offering that values the company at $900 million.

The IPO of 7.15 million Class A common shares was priced $15.00 per share, above its estimated offering price range.

The San Francisco, California-based company said the shares will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange today under the ticker symbol "YELP".

In an amended regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on February 16, the company had estimated pricing between $12.00 and $14.00 per share.

Yelp is said to have raised total proceeds of $107 million from the offering, which gives it a market valuation of about $900 million. Yelp had initially filed for an IPO of up to $100 million in mid-November 2011.

Yelp plans to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes, including working capital, sales and marketing activities, general and administrative matters and capital expenditures. The company may also use part of the net proceeds for acquisitions of complementary businesses, technologies or other assets.

Of the 7.15 million shares being offered in the IPO, Yelp is offering 7.10 million shares and selling stockholder, The Yelp Foundation, is offering 0.50 million shares. Yelp will not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares by selling stockholders.

Meanwhile, Yelp has also granted underwriters a 30-day option to buy up to an additional 1.07 million common shares at the IPO price less the underwriting discount, to cover over-allotments, if any.

Goldman Sachs & Co. is the lead book-running manager, with Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. and Jefferies & Co., Inc. being the joint book-running managers, and Allen & Co. LLC and Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. being co-managers for the offering.

Yelp reportedly spurned acquisition offers ranging from $500 million to $1.0 billion from Google, Inc. (GOOG) and Yahoo!, Inc. (YHOO) two years back. It was said to be looking for offers ranging from $1.5 billion to $2.0 billion at that time.

People use the Yelp website as a platform to write reviews on almost every type of local business, from restaurants, boutiques and salons to dentists, mechanics, plumbers and more. Its reviews help people find great local businesses.

The website features more than 25 million cumulative reviews, and is used by about 66 million unique visitors and its mobile application was used on about 5.7 million unique mobile devices, on a monthly average basis.

Yelp generates revenue primarily from the sale of advertising on its website to local businesses and national brands that seek to reach its growing audience of consumers. During the year ended December 31, 2011, Yelp generated net revenue of $83.3 million, up 74 percent from 2010, a net loss of $16.7 million and an adjusted EBITDA loss of $1.1 million.

Yelp communities have taken root in major metros across the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and Australia.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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