Yelp might be up for sale, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, which says, citing people familiar with the matter, that it is working with investment bankers and has "been in touch with potential buyers" in recent weeks.
It notes that the company could still decide against a sale, but it seems to be exploring its options. The report projects the company could get over $3.5 billion, and cites slowing growth in traffic and a marked decline in stock price since highs in March of last year.
A spokesperson for Yelp tells WebProNews, "We don't comment on rumors or speculation, so can add nothing further."
Shareholders seem to like the idea of a sale as shares quickly jumped about 8% upon the news.
The company released its Q1 financial results last week, reporting a 55% revenue increase compared to the same quarter last year, but falling short of analysts’ expectations and sending its stock price down. Still, the company grew its cumulative reviews by 36% to 77 million, including a record 6 million reviews contributed during the quarter.
Growth in mobile usage and the company's sales efforts were major themes of the ensuing conference call. The company reported that average monthly mobile unique visitors grew 29% year-over-year to approximately 79 million while average monthly desktop unique visitors declined 3% to about 80 million. Combined, average monthly unique visitors grew 8% to 142 million. In other words, there are now nearly as many mobile users as desktop users, and it’s only a matter of time until the mobile number overtakes desktop.
The company’s brand advertising revenue was down 11% year-over-year. It attributes this to the shift to programmatic advertising and the “industry’s desire to have advertising products that are disruptive to the consumer experience.”
40% of Yelp’s local advertising revenues in Q1 came from CPC advertisers, which was up from 32% in Q4.
It would be interesting to know which companies Yelp has been "in touch" with as potential buyers. I could speculate, but what would be the point? One question is what company would want to take on all of the legal headaches that accompany the business?
Image via Yelp