Yelp Delivers Big on Earnings, Turnaround Continues

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Yelp Inc. (NYSE: YELP) managed to close up 3% ahead of earnings and was last seen up 6.3% afterward. The online reviews site seems to be finding its mojo again after a long fall from its post-IPO peak. Now it looks like Yelp’s shares are going to hit new 52-week highs.

Among the highlights, Yelp showed that its local revenue increased 41% from its second quarter of 2015. The company also named Jed Nachman as its chief operating officer. Geoff Donaker will be retiring from the COO position after 11 years with the company, but Yelp did say that Donaker will serve as a strategic advisor and will retain his seat on Yelp’s board of directors.

Net revenue was up 30% to $173.4 million in the second quarter. Its cumulative reviews also rose by 30% from a year ago (to 108 million). Yelp’s total app unique devices rose by 27% from a year ago to approximately 23 million on a monthly average basis. Another growth path came from local advertising accounts, which rose by 32% from a year ago to roughly 128,000.

Yelp’s non-GAAP net income was $12.5 million, or $0.16 per share. That is versus $9.4 million, or $0.12 per share, in the second quarter of 2015. Thomson Reuters was calling for −$0.07 EPS on revenue of $169.8 million.

Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said of the quarter:

We had a great second quarter with local revenue growth accelerating to 41% year over year. Our mission is to connect people with great local businesses and we did that through more than 300 million connections in the second quarter – which include mobile calls, clicks for map views and directions, food orders, restaurant reservations, and new reviews, among other actions. In the second half of the year, we look to execute against our three strategic priorities of growing the core local advertising business, boosting awareness of Yelp and driving transactions.

Yelp guidance was issued as follows:

For the third quarter of 2016, net revenue is expected to be in the range of $180 million to $184 million, growth of about 27%. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be in the range of $24 million to $28 million.

For the full year of 2016, net revenue is expected to be in the range of $700 million to $708 million, growth of about 28%. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be in the range of $100 million to $108 million.

Yelp shares were last seen up 3% at $32.64 ahead of earnings, in a 52-week range of $14.53 to $32.90. The after-hours reaction had Yelp shares up over 6% at $34.85. Interestingly enough, Yelp’s recovery has taken this stock well above the consensus analyst price target of $27.73.