Yelp's more modestly sized IPO reflects the much smaller numbers underlying its business, although its review site is a popular destination for getting recommendations on everything from churches to strip clubs.
By the end of the last year, Yelp had stockpiled more than 25 million reviews and was attracting about 66 million visitors to its website. But Yelp's financial numbers haven't been as impressive so far. It has suffered losses totaling $41 million since its inception, including a setback of nearly $17 million on $83 million on revenue last year.
Nevertheless, Yelp's popularity attracted the attention of Internet search leader Google Inc., which offered about $500 million to buy Yelp in late 2009 only to be rebuffed, according to media reports. Since then, Google has introduced and acquired competing services that are frequently prominently displayed in its search results. That practice has provoked complaints from Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, who joined a chorus of Google rivals who contend Google is abusing its dominance of Internet search to stifle competition in other areas of electronic commerce.
Stoppelman, 34, is in line to be one of the biggest winners in the IPO. His 11 percent stake in Yelp would be worth about $83 million at $14 per share. He already made $15 million by selling some of the company's stock to venture capital firm Elevation Partners in 2010. Yelp Chairman Max Levchin also made the same amount by selling some of his stock to Elevation Partners. Levchin retain a 13 percent stake that would be worth about $100 million at $14 per share.When it last granted stock options in December, Yelp appraised the value of its stock at $11.40 per share.