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Yelp Shares Rally After Revenue Beat and Three New Board Members

Krista Gmelich and Scott Deveau
Yelp Shares Rally After Revenue Beat and Three New Board Members

(Bloomberg) -- Yelp Inc. shares surged after fourth-quarter results topped analysts’ estimates and the company appointed three new members to its board, a move that had been requested by shareholders.

The user-review company reported revenue of $243.7 million in the period, surpassing the $241.2 million expected by analysts. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $52.9 million, the company said Wednesday in a statement. That topped the highest estimate of analysts tracked by Bloomberg. Yelp projected revenue growth of 8 percent to 10 percent in 2019.

The shares jumped almost 5 percent in extended trading after closing at $38.46 in New York. The stock had gained about 10 percent this year through the close.

Last month SQN Investors LP, one of Yelp’s largest shareholders, said it was prepared to launch a proxy fight against the company if it didn’t follow recommendations to improve performance or consider selling itself. Among SQN’s suggestions was refreshing the board with three new members and boosting margins by 30 percent. Yelp said in its results that it’s aiming for a 30 percent to 35 percent adjusted EBITDA margin by 2023.

San Francisco-based Yelp named Twilio Inc. Chief Operating Officer George Hu, former Starbucks Corp. executive Sharon Rothstein and HomeAway co-founder Brian Sharples to its board.

Yelp also said it will build on partnerships such as its agreement with GrubHub Inc., another measure backed by SQN Investors. A representative for SQN Investors declined to comment on the results.

To contact the reporters on this story: Krista Gmelich in New York at kgmelich1@bloomberg.net;Scott Deveau in New York at sdeveau2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Molly Schuetz, Andrew Pollack

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