Yelp Spikes on Buyout Talk, Alibaba Soars on Earnings Beat

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Yelp (YELP) spiked Thursday after reports surfaced that the online local business reviews site was reportedly seeking a buyer. Alibaba (BABA) surged after beating analysts' fourth-quarter earnings and revenue estimates and naming a new CEO. Activision Blizzard (ATVI) jumped after beating analysts first quarter estimates and raising its full-year earnings projections.

Yelp soared 23% to close at $47.01.

The online local business reviews site surged after the Wall Street Journal reported the company had hired Goldman Sachs to explore finding it a buyer. According to the report, Yelp has touched base with potential buyers this month but a deal is not imminent and the online reviews site may ultimately decide to forego a deal. 

Yelp currently has a market cap of $2.9 billion and the Wall Street Journal said a deal would likely fetch in excess of $3.5 billion.

Some potential buyers might include the Priceline Group (PCLN), Yahoo! (YHOO), Amazon.com (AMZN) and Rakuten (RKUNY), according to a report in Bloomberg.


Alibaba Group surged 7.5% to end the session at $86.

The Chinese e-commerce giant was pushed higher after beating analysts' fourth-quarter earnings and revenue estimates as well as naming a new CEO. During the quarter, Alibaba reported earnings of 48 cents per American depository on revenue of $2.81 billion, according to an Investor's Business Daily report. Analysts, meanwhile, were expecting earnings of 42 cents on revenue of $2.77 billion, the report noted.

Alibaba also promoted Daniel Zhang, its chief operating officer, to the position of CEO. He will work with the current CEO Jonathan Lu during a transition phase of several months, the company announced. Lu will remain on the board of directors as vice chairman. 

Zhang joined Alibaba Group in eight years ago, initially coming aboard as chief financial officer of Alibaba's Taobao Marketplace in 2007. He later moved into operating roles and various top management positions within the company.

"Daniel is a proven international business leader and innovator with a strong track record of delivering results. He has the confidence of our entire management team, and there is no better person to lead Alibaba Group as we embark on the next stage of our growth on top of the strong foundation that Jonathan helped build," said Jack Ma, Alibaba Group's executive chairman, in a statement.


Activision Blizzard soared 5.2% to close at $24.41.

The game developer reported adjusted earnings of 16 cents a share on adjusted revenue of $$703 million, soundly beating analysts' estimates of 7 cents a share earnings on revenue of $655.4 million, according to  Reuters report.

Activision also raised its full-year earnings forecast to $1.20 a share from $1.15 and its revenue forecast to $4.43 billion from $4.4 billion, according to the report. For a deeper looking into Activision's earnings, here is a copy of the earnings call transcript.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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