Yelp Prices IPO Above Expected Range; Benchmark, Bessemer and Elevation Shares Worth Combined $475M

In a boon for its venture backers, online review site Yelp today priced its IPO at $15 a share, above its expected price range of $12 to $14, Reuters is reporting.

The company, which will trade on the NYSE under the ticker YELP, will sell 7.1 million shares, generating $107.3 million in proceeds.

Three firms —  VC firms Benchmark Capital Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners and PE firm Elevation Partners — collectively own 31.7 million shares worth in excess of $475 million at $15 per share.

Yelp raised a total of $58 million in venture capital over four rounds from 2005 to 2010, according to Thomson Reuters (publisher of peHUB). Benchmark, Bessemer and DAG Ventures funded the first three rounds, and Elevation was the sole backer of a $25 million round in January 2010, Thomson Reuters reports.

Yelp’s most recent S-1 filing shows that its largest shareholders are as follows:

  • Bessemer owns 11,664,066 shares worth about $175 million at $15 per share;
  • Elevation  owns 11,625,810 shares worth about $174 million;
  • Benchmark owns 8,406,084 shares worth about $126 million;
  • Max Levchin, an entrepreneur and angel investor, owns 7,144,090 shares worth about $107 million; and
  • Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp’s co-founder and CEO, owns 5,912,889 shares worth about $89 million.

DAG Ventures was not mentioned in the S-1.

As a group, the five aforementioned shareholders own nearly 85 percent of Yelp’s Class B shares and the five shareholders collectively control about 84 percent of the voting power in the company. (Class B shares are entitled to 10 votes per share, while Class A shares are entitled to one vote each.)

Goldman Sachs was the lead underwriter for the offering, with Citigroup and Jefferies acting as co-underwriters.

Image credit: Jackpot concept photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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