Investors gave Yelp five stars when the online community restaurant and business review website hit the stock market Friday for the first time, its shares soaring more than 60 percent over the IPO price.
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With social networking powerhouse Facebook’s expected $5 billion initial public offering in the wings, Yelp’s successful launch on the Nasdaq proved a small but still useful sign of the US market’s hunger for established Internet firms.
Midway through the session (1730 GMT) shares were at $24.36, a whopping 62.4 percent above the $15 dollar IPO price.
Earlier they jumped as high as $26.00.
Yelp, which serves up some 25 million user-generated reviews of service businesses by city across the United States, Canada and western Europe, only raised $106.5 million in the 7.1 million share offering.
But that was considered strong for a company which, seven years after its launch in San Francisco, lost $16.7 million last year on revenues of $83.3 million, mostly from advertising.
With its restaurant and nightlife reviews the website’s most popular feature, the company said it had a monthly average of 66 million unique viewers in the fourth quarter of last year.
The company trades under the listing symbol “YELP”.
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