Yelp Tumbles on Weaker Q4 Numbers

Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) reported weaker-than-expected results for its fourth quarter. The company added $250 million to its buyback and named David Schwarzbach as its new CFO.

The company, based in San Francisco, reported net revenue was $269 million, up 10% from the fourth quarter of 2018, a one percentage point increase from the third quarter’s growth rate.
Greater-than-expected seasonal reductions by small- and medium-sized business customers resulted in reported growth slightly below our outlook for the quarter; this seasonal activity reversed in January, when our non-term advertising business saw record monthly advertiser acquisitions and budget retention

Net income was $17 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, compared to $32 million, or $0.37 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2018, reflecting higher income taxes in the fourth quarter of 2019 and a valuation allowance release in the fourth quarter of 2018

CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said, "2019 marked a pivotal year for Yelp as we embarked on an ambitious, multi-year business transformation plan.

"We are pleased to have reaccelerated revenue growth in the second half of 2019, while also increasing adjusted EBITDA margin year-over-year. We ended the year with double-digit revenue growth in the fourth quarter and that momentum has continued into 2020, giving us confidence in our ability to achieve our long-term financial targets."

The company expects to accelerate revenue growth and expand margins again in 2020. Specifically, YELP expects net revenue to grow 10-12% compared to 2019, with adjusted EBITDA margin increasing by 1-2 percentage points compared to 2019.

Shares backed away $3.22, or 8.8%, to $33.28