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Yelp buys OpenTable competitor SeatMe for $12.7M

The reviews site wants a bigger taste of the restaurant business, even if that means ruffling the feathers of a current partner.


Yelp has agreed to acquire Web and mobile reservations service SeatMe for around $12.7 million in cash and stock, the company announced Thursday.

SeatMe, a competitor to Yelp partner OpenTable, is a 2-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that facilitates reservations at bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. The company, which serves a small customer base and has roughly 15 employees, makes sophisticated reservation software for merchants that can be used on a PC, Mac, or iPad, and markets its services as cheaper than OpenTable's system.

"By bringing SeatMe to Yelp, we can further enhance the consumer experience by extending the convenience of easy, online reservations directly through Yelp to thousands of currently unserved businesses," CEO Jeremy Stoppleman said in a post on the company's blog.

Yelp agreed to pay $2.2 million in cash and up to 263,000 shares for an estimated total value of $12.7 million. The deal is expected to close next week. SeatMe's team will relocate to Yelp's San Francisco headquarters in the fourth quarter.

The acquisition may put a fork in Yelp's arrangement with OpenTable, which currently facilities the company's online reservation process. Potentially more problematic, however, is that the OpenTable agreement could prevent Yelp from fully integrating SeatMe, Yelp disclosed in a press release.

Investors seem cautiously optimistic about Yelp's future as an all-in-one booking and reservation service. The company's stock, which closed down 0.55 percent at $39.75 a share, is up nearly 1 percent in after-hours trading.