On the rise: Yelp on IPO day, plus Zynga, Shutterfly

• Yelp’s Wall Street debut is getting rave reviews. Shares of the San Francisco online-reviews site are soaring more than 60 percent this morning, on their first day of trading on the public stock markets. Yelp, which yesterday priced its shares higher than expected, at $15, shot up as much as 70 percent after the markets opened today. They’re trading at $24.45 as of this post. The 8-year-old company started by former PayPal executives, which lets people review restaurants, services, doctors and more, is ad-supported but has yet to turn a profit. Its competition includes Google — with which it has had drama — and, increasingly sites such as Foursquare, which is incorporating reviews into its offerings.

• Shares of Zynga, which announced Thursday that it it will soon launch a standalone gaming platform, continue to rise today after rising 10 percent yesterday. The San Francisco social-games maker’s new site seems like a step toward independence from Facebook, something analysts have said the company needs. But the move doesn’t seem to be a huge game-changer, at least not yet: Although it means gamers can play outside Facebook’s walls, they will still need to use their Facebook logins. As the New York Times points out, Zynga’s platform will use Facebook credits. And Zynga is certainly painting its new platform as “complementary” to Facebook. “We’re very, very good partners with Facebook, and our game boards are shared. You can start on Facebook, continue on Zynga.com or vice versa,” Zynga COO John Schappert told VentureBeat. The new platform, which Schappert said will launch this month, will also include games from other makers.

Zynga shares are reaching record highs today, up more than 3 percent to $15 as of this post, or about 60 percent higher since the company’s IPO in December.

• Kodak’s woes are Shutterfly’s gain. The Redwood City-based online-photo site’s shares are soaring today, more than 18 percent to about $31.95 as of this post, after the news yesterday that Kodak will be selling its online gallery — which has 75 million users — to Shutterfly. Kodak, the photo pioneer that filed for bankruptcy in January, said last month it would stop making cameras and will refocus on its printing business.


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  • David

    Yelp has never turned a profit. The fundamentals are not there to support the current market price for its stock. The conclusion must be that the Wall Street greed factor is once again at play. The holders of the IPO’s are the real winners, especially the company’s founders. That’s the money game. Aside from its balance sheet, without any real profits to project its fundamentals I value this company as essentially worthless.

  • “…refocus on its printing business.” Pun intended? 🙂