Yelp reportedly getting closer to IPO

The reviews site is said to be gearing up to go public, hoping to join LinkedIn and Groupon among the recent Internet IPOs.

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman testifying to the U.S. Senate about Google. Screenshot by Jay Greene/CNET

Yelp, the user-generated reviews site, has chosen Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to lead an initial public offering that could value the company at about $2 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The startup hasn't been shy about its desire to tap into the equity markets, and Groupon's IPO last week has likely made Yelp executives more confident that they can have a successful offering. Others in the wings include Zynga, Angie's List and, the potential biggie of them all, Facebook.

The Journal says Yelp plans to file its IPO plans in the next few weeks with the aim of going public in the first quarter of 2012.

Yelp declined to comment.

Yelp, which was co-founded in 2004, has been on a tear in the past few years, when the spread of mobile apps has fueled its traffic and reviews. Yelp has more than 63 million monthly visitors, with one-third of its searches now come from mobile apps.

Yelp's traffic surge Yelp

Daily deal site Groupon went public on Friday, becoming the largest tech IPO since Google went public in 2004. Groupon, unprofitable and just three years old, is now valued at about $16 billion.

Yelp's business is similar to Groupon in that it connects to customers with local businesses. It also moved into the daily deal arena with Yelp Deals but scaled back on that effort in August. CEO Jeremy Stoppelman wrote in a blog post that it was too difficult to provide quality deals.

Like Groupon, Yelp also rebuffed a buyout offer from Google.

 

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