With Google Gone, Elevation Invests in Yelp–Just as It Wanted To
Whatever happened between Google and Yelp is now officially kaput. Instead of selling the entire company to the search giant, Yelp’s owners will be taking up to $100 million in funding from private equity shop Elevation Partners.
I still don’t know how close Google (GOOG) and Yelp came to actually consummating a transaction, but Elevation’s involvement does clear one thing up. As I noted in December when news of the would-be Google deal broke, Yelp had already been exploring a large funding round. And now sources tell me that Elevation had been in the mix for months.
Elevation, whose most prominent portfolio company to date has been Palm (PALM), will put $25 million into the local reviews site for expansion and has earmarked up to $75 million more to buy shares from employees. That structure is similar to the deals Russian investors Digital Sky Technologies have done with Facebook and Zynga–and as in those deals, the Elevation bet means any public offering has likely been pushed back by a year or more.