Yelp! It's Another Social Media IPO!

02/22/2012 8:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

This is quickly becoming the year of the social media initial public offering (IPO), and this one will be the first of a very busy year, writes Chris Preston of The Daily Profit.

Yelp is the next social media stock in the IPO hopper.

The online-review company has set terms to go public the first week of March. Yelp plans to sell 7.15 million shares at a price between $12 and $14 in its initial public offering. If it succeeds, the company could raise as much as $100 million.

Yelp is a Web site where users post reviews of local businesses such as restaurants, bars, or mechanics in a given area. Like other social media companies that went public in the last year, Yelp has never been profitable since it was founded in 2004.

Social gaming company Zynga (ZNGA) and daily deals Web site Groupon (GRPN) both went public last year despite having never turned a profit. Now each stock is trading below its IPO price.

Yelp will be joining what has suddenly become a red-hot IPO market. Fourteen IPOs have hit the market so far in February. Three more are scheduled to price before the month is out. That’s a far cry from January, when only four companies went public.

The most successful new stocks this year so far have been Guidewire Software (GWRE), Greenway (GWAY), and Caesars Entertainment (CZR).

Guidewire, an enterprise software supplier, is up 72% from its late-January IPO price of $13 a share. Greenway Medical Technologies, which provides IT solutions to US physicians, has climbed 50% to $15 a share from its February 1 IPO price of $10. Caesars, the casino entertainment provider that debuted last week, is already up 41% from its modest IPO price of $9 a share.

Facebook's much anticipated IPO has garnered all the headlines lately. But the social-networking giant doesn’t go public until sometime in May.

Yelp will be the first social-media company in the US to IPO this year. It will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol YELP.

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