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Yahoo Said to Partner With Yelp to Attract Search Users

Yelp Sign on Restaurant Window
Yelp Inc. is forecasting full-year net revenue of $353 million to $358 million, or about 53 percent growth. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Yahoo! Inc. will form a partnership with reviews provider Yelp Inc. to bolster search results and draw users, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

The U.S.’s biggest Web portal will offer Yelp’s ratings of local merchants, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The companies plan to offer the service within weeks, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing an unnamed person who attended a Yahoo employee meeting.

Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer is seeking content and features to attract and keep users as it tries to close the gap with Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. The Sunnyvale, California-based company’s share of the search market has dropped by about a half since 2008 to less than 11 percent in December, compared with 18 percent for Microsoft and 67 percent for Google, according to ComScore Inc.

Both Sara Gorman, a spokeswoman for Yahoo, and Yelp spokesman Vince Sollitto declined to comment.

While Yahoo gets its main search technology through a multiyear agreement with Microsoft, it provides its own features and interface to tailor services for visitors. Yelp supplies consumer-generated data in the U.S., Europe and Asia on businesses including restaurants.

Yahoo’s first-quarter sales, excluding revenue passed to partner sites, will be $1.06 billion to $1.1 billion, the company said last month. The middle of that range would represent growth of less than 1 percent from $1.07 billion a year earlier.

Yelp is forecasting full-year net revenue of $353 million to $358 million, or about 53 percent growth. It has also made deals with Microsoft and Apple Inc. to display information on their services.

While Yahoo’s shares have declined 7.9 percent this year, San Francisco-based Yelp has climbed almost 30 percent.

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