Apps & Software

Will Yahoo! Buy Yelp?

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Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) said Wednesday that it has acquired privately held Blink for an undisclosed sum. Blink, like rival Snapchat, offers users a mobile messaging app that lets them share messages that self-destruct after a short time.

While Blink only launched its Android app in February, its iOS app has been available for more than a year, and the company claimed to have about 100,000 downloads when it announced its launch on Android. Blink’s mobile apps for both iOS and Android will be shut down over the next few weeks, according to the company as it switches the messaging app to Yahoo.

The bar for mobile messaging has been set very high by Facebook Inc.’s (NASDAQ: FB) $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp. Facebook also reportedly offered to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion, an offer that Snapchat refused. Blink likely cost Yahoo far less.

Now that Yahoo is about to juice up its war chest in the coming initial public offering of Alibaba, CEO Marissa Mayer could take another look at buying Yelp Inc. (NYSE: YELP). Yahoo formed a partnership with Yelp in February to boost its local search capabilities. Yahoo’s search business, for which the company partners with Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), has been growing: up 8% year-over-year in the fourth quarter and up 9% in the first quarter.

When Yahoo reported first-quarter results, Mayer noted that the firm had more than 430 million monthly mobile users, and she said that mobile was “pivotal” to Yahoo’s future growth.

Yelp’s stock has fallen more than 55% from a high of $101.75 in March to around $55.60 Wednesday. At the current stock price, Yelp’s market value is roughly $4 billion, and Yahoo could afford that, along with a nice premium, from the proceeds of the Alibaba IPO.

Yahoo shares were trading flat shortly before noon on Wednesday, at $34.41 in a 52-week range of $23.82 to $41.72.

READ MORE: How Alibaba Measures Up Against Amazon and eBay

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