May 23, 2023

Activist investor TCS Capital wants Yelp to consider strategic options

Shares of Yelp Inc (NYSE: YELP) opened about 10% up this morning after an activist investor disclosed a sizable stake in the recommendation website operator.

TCS wants Yelp to merge with Angi

On Tuesday, TCS Capital Management pushed the California-based company to explore strategic options including a possible sale. The hedge fund owns over 4.0% of Yelp.

Eric Semler (President of TCS) also sees a merger with Angi a viable recourse for the internet services company. In his letter to the management, he wrote:

As a former board member and long-time investor in Angi, I believe that a Yelp and Angi combination would yield enormous revenue synergies and cost savings.

The said merger, Semler added, could see Yelp shares more than double from here to about $70.

Yelp shares have rallied this month

It is noteworthy, though, that Yelp shares have gained a whopping 35% over the past three weeks.

In his letter, Semler also took an issue with CEO Jeremy Stoppelman who he said was overcompensated despite a long history of poor execution. According to a company spokesperson:

Yelp maintains an active dialogue with our shareholders and values constructive feedback on our business and ways to create value.

Earlier this month, Yelp Inc reported its financial results for the first quarter that handily topped Street estimates. It now forecasts revenue to fall between $1.3 billion and $1.32 billion this year. Wall Street currently has a “hold” rating on the New York-listed firm.

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