Bullish Reviews: Yelp Races 60% Higher in Public Debut

By Matt Egan Features FOXBusiness


Shares of online consumer-review company Yelp (YELP) soared more than 60% higher in its public debut on Friday, an impressive start for the young yet unprofitable company.

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After pricing late Thursday at $15 a share, which was at the high end of the expected range, Yelp opened at $22.01, a 47% jump from the IPO price. 

Yelp continued to build on its momentum, recently trading up 62.93% at $24.47.

San Francisco-based Yelp is likely the last of a string of next-generation Internet companies to go public before social-networking king Facebook, whose expected IPO has captivated Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

Founded in 2004 by a pair of PayPal engineers, Yelp combines social networking, local commerce and mobile communications.

Yelp, which debuted on NYSE Euronext’s (NYX) New York Stock Exchange, priced its IPO at $15 a share, compared with an expected range of $12 to $14. The IPO raised $107 million and gives the company a valuation of $899 million.

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The company lays claim to about 66 million current monthly unique visitors and enjoyed a 74% surge in 2011 revenue to $83.3 million. However, Yelp is stuck in the red, posting a net loss of $16.7 million last year.

Yelp’s IPO is being run by Goldman Sachs (GS), Citigroup (C) and midsize investment bank Jefferies (JEF).

The Yelp debut follows a slew of recent Internet offerings, including daily deals site Groupon (GRPN), LinkedIn (LNKD) and Zynga (ZNGA).

Earlier this year Facebook filed paperwork for an IPO that would be the largest Internet debut ever, raising $5 billion and giving the social-networking company an impressive valuation of $75 billion to $100 billion.

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