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Yelp Sets Sights on Initial Public Offering; Timing Undecided

April 26 (Bloomberg) -- Yelp Inc., the local-business review site started by former PayPal Inc. executive Jeremy Stoppelman, said it’s exploring an initial public offering.

Yelp hasn’t started the process of hiring bankers and doesn’t have a timeline for when it would go public, Vince Sollitto, a spokesman for the San Francisco-based company, said in an interview. He confirmed comments Stoppelman made in a Wall Street Journal article earlier today.

The seven-year-old company sells ads next to user reviews of restaurants, auto mechanics and doctors, connecting local businesses with consumers. Last year, private equity firm Elevation Partners agreed to invest as much as $100 million in Yelp -- a deal that valued the company at $475 million, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Stoppelman said in the interview with the Journal that the company’s finances were sound enough that it didn’t need to raise another round of cash from private investors.

Yelp’s backers also include venture capital firms Bessemer Venture Partners and Benchmark Capital. AllThingsD first reported two weeks ago on Yelp’s plans to pursue an IPO. The company is seeking a new chief financial officer as part of that effort, Sollitto said today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joseph Galante in San Francisco at jgalante3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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