Yelp is not having a good day

October 24, 2019

Yelp saw its stock take a steep dive this afternoon after it reported its fourth-quarter earnings, which on an adjusted basis fell below Wall Street’s expectations on the bottom line.

Yelp has had a very up-and-down year, all while still continuing to be a go-to site for reviews and content around restaurants. But the company also signaled that it plans to invest heavily in the next year in a pretty competitive space, where its desktop unique visitors still eclipsed its mobile web unique visitors and app unique devices. (Combining the latter two brings it a little above its desktop, however.)

Here’s the chart:

Late last year, Yelp said it would sell its delivery business Eat24 to GrubHub for $287.5 million as part of an earnings report that looked pretty good at first blush. Still, the company has had to broaden its business beyond just that review-oriented business, which was a game-changer in 2004 and propelled it to one of the big early IPOs of the impending mobile explosion. Yelp CFO Lanny Baker said it plans to incur additional losses as it looks to invest in its businesses related to reservations and Nowait and WiFi, its waitlist and venue Wi-Fi businesses.

“We increased operating income in 2017, while achieving strong top-line results aided by customer success initiatives,” Baker said in the release. “Looking to 2018, we plan to provide businesses greater control over their advertising messages and increased flexibility in contract term lengths. We are also focused on strengthening our competitive position in the highly-trafficked Restaurants category, and as a result, expect to incur operating losses of $20-$25 million related to Nowait, Yelp Reservations and Yelp WiFi collectively in 2018 as we invest in their growth.”

Here’s the quick slash line:

  • Q4 revenue: $218.2 million, compared to Wall Street estimates of $215 million
  • Q4 earnings: 19 cents per share on an adjusted basis, compared to Wall Street estimates of 27 cents per share on an adjusted basis
  • Q1 guidance: $219.5 million (midpoint), compared to analyst estimates of $219 million
  • Desktop monthly unique visitors: 77 million
  • Mobile web monthly unique visitors: 64 million
  • Yelp app unique device monthly visitors: 29 million

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