Yelp shares soar 22% after lockup expires

Defying the depressing trend set by Groupon and Facebook, Yelp’s share price lifted more than 22 percent today following the expiration of the company’s first lock-up period.

Roughly 53 million Yelp shares were freed for trading Wednesday as company insiders received their first crack at cashing in on the business reviews site.

From the looks of it, when given the opportunity to take their money and run, early investors and executives maintained most of their holdings. The collective vote of confidence catapulted Yelp shares to $22.37 at market close, up from $17.51 at market open. In total, 8.6 million Yelp shares were exchanged on the New York Stock Exchange today.

Michael Pachter, the managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, said that the positive activity amounted to the market’s relief that insiders didn’t dump their shares on the lockup expiration.

“The company is more disciplined than Facebook or Zynga [and] has its insiders behaving well,” Pachter told VentureBeat.

Yelp’s strong performance seems even more impressive when compared against Groupon and Facebook. Both of the consumer Internet companies were hit hard as soon as their initial lockups expired. Peter Thiel, Facebook’s first outside investor and a member of the social network’s board, sold a majority of his holdings in the company as soon as he could. Silicon Valley investment firm Andreessen Horowitz disposed of its entire stake in Groupon for a tiny profit.

Some of the optimism around Yelp can be attributed to a strong second quarter earnings report, which handily beat Wall Street’s expectations. In Q2, Yelp’s first full quarter since its initial listing, the company grew revenue 67 percent year-over-year and posted a smaller-than-expected loss.

YELP Chart

YELP data by YCharts

Photo credit: Yelp/Flickr


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