SAN FRANCISCO - Yelp Inc., the site that lets users review everything from diners to dentists, raised $107.3 million in its initial public offering, pricing the shares above the marketed price range.
The San Francisco-based company sold 7.15 million shares for $15 each, according to a statement, after offering them for $12 to $14 apiece. The stock will begin trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol YELP.
Yelp faces stiff competition for local ad revenue from larger rivals Google Inc. and Facebook Inc., which filed for the biggest Internet IPO on record last month. The company, led by Chief Executive Jeremy Stoppelman, planned to start hiring an international sales force this year to begin offering ads in overseas markets, according to a regulatory filing.
"There was a vacuum," said Francis Gaskins, president of IPODesktop.com in Marina del Rey, Calif. "They went in and established themselves, but now there's a lot more competition. Competition from the heavyweights could create a problem."
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and Jefferies Group Inc. led the offering. Yelp's biggest investors, including Stoppelman, didn't sell shares in the IPO. The former PayPal Inc. executive will hold about 11 percent of the voting power in Yelp following the share sale, according to a regulatory filing. Bessemer Venture Partners and Elevation Partners each will have about 22 percent, the filing shows.
Revenue rose 74 percent to $83.3 million last year, with local ads accounting for 70 percent of that and brand advertising making up most of the rest. The company hasn't posted a profit since at least 2007, according to the prospectus.
The offering values Yelp at about $900 million. That's a lot for a company that isn't turning a profit.
Rick Summer, an analyst at Morningstar, says that while Yelp is at "the head of the pack" compared to other review sites, he's concerned that businesses "may not see enough value in [Yelp's] advertising platform to increase spending and justify the expected price of this IPO."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.