Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

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.

BusinessWeek pegs the value of the round at $475 million. TechCrunch first reported Elevation’s involvement earlier this month.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik