Yelp Revs Up for a $100 Million IPO

But the company continues to sustain large losses

By Tom Taulli, InvestorPlace Writer & IPO Playbook Editor

It looks as if Yelp may go public within the next couple weeks. The site — which provides consumer reviews of local businesses — has set the initial terms of the deal: to sell 7.2 million shares at a price range of $12 to $14. Lead underwriters include Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Jefferies (NYSE:JEF). The company plans to list on the NYSE under the symbol YELP.

When it comes to other hot social stocks — such as Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN), LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) and Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) — Yelp has much lower revenues: They came to $83 million last year. In fact, Yelp had a loss of $16.7 million, up from a loss of $9.6 million in 2010. To spur growth, Yelp has been pumping up spending on sales, marketing and product development.

For the most part, Yelp is similar to Angies’ List (NASDAQ:ANGI), which went public last year. That stock has a -5.2% aftermarket return.

Yelp may be one of the few social stocks to go public before Facebook’s IPO, which is expected in late May. As I pointed out in a recent post in the IPO Playbook, this mega public offering is likely to create a black hole for the market.

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He also is the author of “The Complete M&A Handbook”“All About Short Selling” and “All About Commodities.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli or reach him via email. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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