Yelp Surges as Investors See Bargain Buying Opportunity

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Yelp Inc. shares surged the most in six months Friday as investors see the customer-review website at bargain prices after it lost almost half of its value this year.

Shares jumped 11 percent to close at $31.21 in New York, the biggest increase since May 7 and the highest price since July 28. Yelp shares plummeted July 29 after the company cut its revenue forecast and said it would stop selling national brand advertising. The stock is down 43 percent this year.

Yelp Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Stoppelman is trying to convince investors the company is on the right track by boosting its local advertising sales force and pulling back from banner ads from national brands that aren’t getting responses from Yelp users. The move is part of Yelp’s shift to mobile users, who make up a larger portion of its audience than desktop users.

Yelp was working with a bank to explore a sale earlier this year, but decided in July to halt those plans, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney upgraded the stock last week, saying it remains one of the leading solutions that connects local businesses with Internet-driven customers that is shifting its customers to mobile devices.

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