|☒||QUARTERLY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
|For the Quarterly Period Ended March 31, 2015|
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
|For the Transition period from to|
Commission file number: 001-35444
|(State or Other Jurisdiction of||(I.R.S. Employer|
|Incorporation or Organization)||Identification No.)|
|140 New Montgomery Street, 9th Floor|
|San Francisco, CA||94105|
|(Address of Principal Executive Offices)||(Zip Code)|
(Registrants Telephone Number, Including Area Code)
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. YES ☒ NO ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). YES ☒ NO ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of large accelerated filer, accelerated filer and smaller reporting company in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer ☒||Accelerated filer ☐|
|Non-accelerated filer (Do not check if a smaller reporting company) ☐||Smaller reporting company ☐|
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). YES ☐ NO ☒
As of April 24, 2015, there were 65,213,955 shares of registrants Class A common stock, par value $0.000001 per share, issued and outstanding and 9,571,608 shares of registrants Class B common stock, par value $0.000001 per share, issued and outstanding.
QUARTERLY REPORT ON FORM 10-Q
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|PART I. FINANCIAL INFORMATION|
|Item 1.||Financial Statements (Unaudited).|
|Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets as of March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014.||1|
|Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations for the Three Months Ended March 31,||2|
|2015 and 2014.|
|Condensed Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Loss for the Three Months Ended||3|
|March 31, 2015 and 2014.|
|Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for the Three Months Ended March||4|
|31, 2015 and 2014.|
|Notes to Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements.||5|
|Item 2.||Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.||16|
|Item 3.||Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.||25|
|Item 4.||Controls and Procedures.||26|
|PART II. OTHER INFORMATION|
|Item 1.||Legal Proceedings.||27|
|Item 1A.||Risk Factors.||27|
|Item 2.||Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds.||46|
|Item 3.||Defaults Upon Senior Securities.||46|
|Item 4.||Mine Safety Disclosures.||46|
|Item 5.||Other Information.||46|
Unless the context otherwise indicates, where we refer in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q (the Quarterly Report) to our mobile application or mobile app, we refer to all of our applications for mobile-enabled devices; references to our mobile platform refer to both our mobile app and the versions of our website that are optimized for mobile-based browsers. Similarly, references to our website refer to both the U.S. and international versions of our website, as well as the versions of our website that are optimized for mobile-based browsers.
In the fourth quarter of 2014, we acquired Restaurant Kritik, a German review website, and Cityvox SAS, a French review website. Following these acquisitions, we migrated the content and redirected the websites of Restaurant Kritik and Cityvox to the Yelp platform. Accordingly, the traffic, content and local business activity of Restaurant Kritik and Cityvox are included in the key metrics presented in this Quarterly Report as of and for the quarter ended March 31, 2015.
PART I. FINANCIAL INFORMATION
ITEM 1. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In thousands, except share and per share data)
|March 31,||December 31,|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||172,629||$||247,312|
|Short-term marketable securities||158,603||118,498|
|Accounts receivable (net of allowance for doubtful accounts of $2,323 and $1,627|
|at March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014, respectively)||38,969||35,593|
|Prepaid expenses and other current assets||22,706||19,355|
|Total current assets||392,907||420,758|
|Long-term marketable securities||16,495||38,612|
|Property, equipment and software, net||68,594||62,761|
|Liabilities and stockholders equity|
|Total current liabilities||47,381||33,973|
|Commitments and contingencies (Note 10)|
|Common stock, $0.000001 par value 500,000,000 shares authorized;|
|74,651,334 and 72,920,582 shares issued and outstanding at|
|March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014, respectively|||||
|Additional paid-in capital||705,397||627,742|
|Accumulated other comprehensive income||(13,474||)||(5,609||)|
|Total stockholders equity||656,656||588,150|
|Total liabilities and stockholders equity||$||715,886||$||629,650|
See notes to condensed consolidated financial statements.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(In thousands, except per share data)
|Three Months Ended|
|Costs and expenses:|
|Cost of revenue (exclusive of depreciation and amortization shown separately below)||8,699||5,077|
|Sales and marketing||63,266||45,121|
|General and administrative||19,937||13,170|
|Depreciation and amortization||6,895||3,661|
|Total costs and expenses||122,757||81,011|
|Loss from operations||(4,249||)||(4,604||)|
|Other income (expense), net||562||(2||)|
|Loss before income taxes||(3,687||)||(4,606||)|
|Benefit from income taxes||2,403||1,971|
|Net loss attributable to common stockholders (Class A and B)||$||(1,284||)||$||(2,635||)|
|Net loss per share attributable to common stockholders (Class A and B)|
|Weighted-average shares used to compute net loss per share attributable to common|
|stockholders (Class A and B)|
See notes to condensed consolidated financial statements.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE LOSS
|Three Months Ended|
|Other comprehensive income (loss):|
|Foreign currency translation adjustments||(7,864||)||(84||)|
|Other comprehensive income (loss)||(7,864||)||(84||)|
See notes to condensed consolidated financial statements.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
|Three Months Ended|
|Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash provided by operating activities:|
|Depreciation and amortization||6,895||3,661|
|Provision for doubtful accounts and sales returns||3,434||1,186|
|Loss on disposal of assets and website development costs||52|||
|Premium amortization, net, on securities held-to-maturity||(117||)|||
|Excess tax benefit from stock-based award activity||(815||)||(39||)|
|Changes in operating assets and liabilities:|
|Prepaid expenses and other assets||(6,045||)||(5,928||)|
|Accounts payable and accrued expenses||12,011||5,309|
|Net cash provided by operating activities||25,635||9,323|
|Acquisition, net of cash received||(71,546||)|||
|Purchases of property, equipment and software||(10,881||)||(4,246||)|
|Capitalized website and software development costs||(3,196||)||(1,592||)|
|Proceeds from sale of property and equipment||97|||
|Purchases of intangible assets||(314||)|||
|Maturities of investment securities, held-to-maturity||18,250|||
|Purchases of investment securities, held-to-maturity||(36,120||)|||
|Changes in restricted cash||(5||)||(397||)|
|Net cash used in investing activities||(103,715||)||(6,235||)|
|Proceeds from exercise of employee stock options||3,398||6,735|
|Excess tax benefit from stock-based award activity||815||39|
|Repurchase of common stock||(168||)||(361||)|
|Net cash provided by financing activities||4,045||6,413|
|EFFECT OF EXCHANGE RATE CHANGES ON CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS||(648||)||55|
|CHANGE IN CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS||(74,683||)||9,556|
|CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTSBeginning of period||247,312||389,764|
|CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTSEnd of period||$||172,629||$||399,320|
|SUPPLEMENTAL DISCLOSURES OF OTHER CASH FLOW INFORMATION:|
|Cash paid for income taxes, net of refunds||$||422||$||115|
|SUPPLEMENTAL DISCLOSURES OF NONCASH INVESTING AND FINANCING|
|Purchases of property and equipment recorded in accounts payable and accruals||$||3,544||$||1,880|
|Capitalized website and software development costs recorded in accounts payable and|
|Acquisition consideration included in accruals||1,876|||
|Goodwill measurement period adjustment for working capital||51|||
See notes to condensed consolidated financial statements.
NOTES TO CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
1. DESCRIPTION OF BUSINESS AND BASIS OF PRESENTATION
Yelp Inc. was incorporated in Delaware on September 3, 2004. Except where specifically noted or the context otherwise requires, the use of terms such as the Company and Yelp in these Notes to Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements refers to Yelp Inc. and its subsidiaries.
Yelp connects people with great local businesses by bringing word of mouth online and providing a platform for businesses and consumers to engage and transact. Yelps platform is transforming the way people discover local businesses; every day, millions of consumers visit its website or use its mobile app to find local businesses to meet their everyday needs. Businesses of all sizes use the Yelp platform to engage with consumers at the critical moment when they are deciding where to spend their money.
Basis of Presentation
The accompanying interim condensed consolidated financial statements are unaudited. These unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP) and applicable rules and regulations of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding interim financial reporting. Certain information and note disclosures normally included in the financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP have been condensed or omitted pursuant to such rules and regulations. Accordingly, these unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements contained in the Companys Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 27, 2015 (the Annual Report). The unaudited condensed consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2014 included herein was derived from the audited consolidated financial statements as of that date, but does not include all disclosures required by GAAP, including certain notes to the financial statements.
The unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements have been prepared on the same basis as the audited consolidated financial statements and, in the opinion of management, include all adjustments of a normal recurring nature necessary for the fair presentation of the interim periods presented.
Significant Accounting Policies
There have been no material changes to the Companys significant accounting policies from those described in the Annual Report.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements Not Yet Effective
In May 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (ASU 2014-09), which amended the existing accounting standards for revenue recognition. ASU 2014-09 establishes principles for recognizing revenue upon the transfer of promised goods or services to customers, in an amount that reflects the consideration expected to be received in exchange for those goods or services. The updated standard will replace most existing GAAP revenue recognition guidance when it becomes effective, and permits the use of either the retrospective or cumulative effect transition method. Early adoption of this accounting standard is not permitted. ASU 2014-09 will become effective for the Company in the first quarter of the year ending December 31, 2017. The Company has not yet selected a transition method and is currently evaluating the effect that ASU 2014-09 will have on its consolidated financial statements and related disclosures.
In August 2014, FASB issued Accounting Standards Update 2014-15, Presentation of Financial Statements Going Concern (Subtopic 205-40). The new guidance addresses managements responsibility to evaluate whether there is substantial doubt about an entitys ability to continue as a going concern and to provide related footnote disclosures. Managements evaluation should be based on relevant conditions and events that are known and reasonably knowable at the date that the financial statements are issued. The standard will be effective for the first interim period within annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2016. Early adoption is permitted. The Company does not expect to early adopt this guidance and does not believe that the adoption of this guidance will have a material impact on its consolidated financial statements.
Principles of Consolidation
These unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and its wholly-owned subsidiaries. All intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of the Companys unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the condensed consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of income and expenses during the reporting period. These estimates are based on information available as of the date of the unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements; therefore, actual results could differ from managements estimates.
2. FAIR VALUE OF FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS
The Companys investments in money market accounts are recorded at fair value in the condensed consolidated financial statements. All other financial instruments are classified as held-to-maturity investments and, accordingly, are recorded at amortized cost; however, the Company is required to determine the fair value of these investments on a recurring basis to identify any potential impairment. The accounting guidance for fair value measurements prioritizes the inputs used in measuring fair value in the following hierarchy:
Level 1Observable inputs, such as quoted prices in active markets,
Level 2Inputs other than quoted prices in active markets that are observable either directly or indirectly, or
Level 3Unobservable inputs for which there is little or no market data, which requires the Company to develop its own assumptions.
This hierarchy requires the Company to use observable market data, when available, to minimize the use of unobservable inputs when determining fair value. The Companys money market funds and U.S. government bonds are classified within Level 1 of the fair value hierarchy because they are valued using quoted prices in active markets. The Companys commercial paper, corporate bonds and agency bonds are classified within Level 2 of the fair value hierarchy because they have been valued using inputs other than quoted prices in active markets that are observable directly or indirectly.
The Company classifies the contingent consideration liability, which is related to the acquisition of Restaurant Kritik, within Level 3, because it was estimated using a discounted cash flow technique with significant inputs that are not observable in the market. The significant inputs not observable in the market in the Level 3 measurement included the Companys probability assessments of completion, appropriately discounted considering the uncertainties associated with the obligation, and were calculated in accordance with the terms of the asset purchase agreement. Refer to Note 4 regarding the effects of the acquisition on the Companys consolidated financial statements.
The following table represents the Companys financial instruments measured at fair value as of March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014 (in thousands):
|March 31, 2015||December 31, 2014|
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Total||Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Total|
|Money market funds||$||115,506||||||115,506||$||208,593||$||||$||||$||208,593|
|U.S. government bonds||5,005||||||5,005||5,005||||||5,005|
|Total cash equivalents and marketable securities||$||120,511||$||170,075||$||$||290,586||$||213,598||$||152,026||$||||$||365,624|
|Contingent consideration liability||$||||$||||$||785||$||785||$||||$||||$||835||$||835|
3. MARKETABLE SECURITIES
The amortized cost, gross unrealized gains and losses, and fair value of securities held-to-maturity, all of which mature within two years, as of March 31, 2015 were as follows (in thousands):
|As of March 31, 2015|
|Amortized Cost||Gains||Losses||Fair Value|
|Short-term marketable securities:|
|U.S. government bonds||5,005||||||5,005|
|Long-term marketable securities:|
|Total marketable securities||$||175,098||$||15||$||(33||)||$||175,080|
The following table presents gross unrealized losses and fair values for those securities that were in an unrealized loss position as of March 31, 2015, aggregated by investment category and the length of time that the individual securities have been in a continuous loss position (in thousands):
|As of March 31, 2015|
|Less Than 12 Months||12 Months or Greater||Total|
|Fair Value||Unrealized Loss||Fair Value||Unrealized Loss||Fair Value||Unrealized Loss|
The Company periodically reviews its investment portfolio for other-than-temporary impairment. The Company considers such factors as the duration, severity and reason for the decline in value, and the potential recovery period. The Company also considers whether it is more likely than not that it will be required to sell the securities before the recovery of their amortized cost basis, and whether the amortized cost basis cannot be recovered as a result of credit losses. During the three months ended March 31, 2015, the Company did not recognize any other-than-temporary impairment loss. The Company had no investments in marketable securities outside of money market funds prior to April 1, 2014.
On February 9, 2015, the Company acquired Eat24Hours.com, Inc. (Eat24). In connection with the acquisition, all of the outstanding capital stock of Eat24 was converted into the right to receive an aggregate of approximately $75.0 million in cash, less certain transaction expenses, and 1,402,844 shares of Yelp Class A common stock with an aggregate fair value of approximately $59.2 million, as determined on the basis of the closing market price of the Companys Class A common stock on the acquisition date. Of the total consideration paid in connection with the acquisition, $16.5 million in cash and 308,626 shares were initially held in escrow to secure indemnification obligations. The key factor underlying the acquisition was to obtain an online food ordering solution to drive daily engagement in its key restaurant vertical.
The acquisition was accounted for as a business combination in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification Topic 805, “Business Combinations” (“ASC 805”), with the results of Eat24’s operations included in the Company’s consolidated financial statements from February 9, 2015. The Company’s allocation of the purchase price is preliminary as the amounts related to contingent consideration, identifiable intangible assets, the effects of income taxes resulting from the transaction, and the effects of any net working capital adjustments are still being finalized. Any material measurement period adjustments will be recorded retroactively to the acquisition date. The purchase price allocation, subject to finalization during the measurement period, is as follows (in thousands):
|February 9, 2015|
|Fair value of purchase consideration:|
|Distributed to Eat24 stockholders||$||56,624|
|Held in escrow account||16,500|
|Payable on behalf of Eat24 stockholders||1,876|
|Class A common stock:|
|Distributed to Eat24 stockholders||46,143|
|Held in escrow account||13,015|
|Total purchase consideration||$||134,158|
|Fair value of net assets acquired:|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||1,578|
|Total assets acquired||158,136|
|Deferred tax liability||(15,207||)|
|Total liabilities assumed||(23,978||)|
|Net assets acquired||$||134,158|
Estimated useful lives and the amount assigned to each class of intangible assets acquired are as follows:
|Intangible Type||Amount Assigned||Useful Life|
|Restaurant relationships||17,400||12.0 years|
|Developed technology||7,400||5.0 years|
|User relationships||12,000||7.0 years|
|Trade name||2,800||4.0 years|
|Weighted average||8.6 years|
The intangible assets are being amortized on a straight-line basis, which reflects the pattern in which the economic benefits of the intangible assets are being utilized. The goodwill results from the Companys opportunity to drive daily engagement in its restaurant vertical and potentially expand Eat24s offering to the approximately 1 million U.S. restaurants listed on the Companys platform. None of the goodwill is deductible for tax purposes.
For the quarter ended March 31, 2015, the Company recorded acquisition-related transaction costs of approximately $0.2 million, which were included in general and administrative expense in the accompanying consolidated statement of operations.
The unaudited pro forma financial information in the table below summarizes the combined results of operations for the Company and Eat24, as though the companies had been combined as of January 1, 2014, and includes the accounting effects resulting from the acquisition, including transaction, integration costs, amortization charges from acquired intangible assets, and changes in depreciation due to differing asset values and depreciation lives. The unaudited pro forma financial information, as presented below, is for informational purposes only and is not necessarily indicative of the results of operations that would have been achieved if the acquisition had taken place as of January 1, 2014 (in thousands, except per share data):
|Pro Forma for the Three Months Ended March 31,|
|Basic and diluted net loss per share attributable to common stockholders||$||(0.03||)||$||(0.05||)|
Since the acquisition date, $5.3 million of revenue and $0.4 million of net loss attributable to Eat24 are included in the consolidated statement of operations for the three months ended March 31, 2015.
In October 2014, the Company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Yelp Ireland Ltd., completed the acquisition of all of the outstanding equity interests in Cityvox SAS. Also in October 2014, the Company, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries Yelp Ireland Ltd. and Qype GmbH, acquired the assets comprising the business conducted under the name Restaurant Kritik from Kabukiman Ltd. The aggregate purchase price of these businesses was $15.3 million, net of $0.1 million cash acquired; the purchase price did not include stock in either transaction. Each of these acquisitions has been accounted for as a business combination in accordance with ASC 805, under the acquisition method. Accordingly, the aggregate purchase price is allocated to the tangible and intangible assets acquired and the liabilities assumed based on their respective fair values on the acquisition dates, and is subject to adjustment based on purchase price adjustment provisions contained in the acquisition agreements. The results of operations of the acquired companies have been included in the Companys consolidated financial statements from the respective acquisition dates. Net revenues, earnings since the acquisition and pro forma results of operations for these acquisitions have not been presented because they are not material to the consolidated results of operations, either individually or in aggregate. During the quarter ended December 31, 2014, the Company recorded acquisition-related transaction costs of $0.6 million, which were included in general and administrative expense.
Under the Restaurant Kritik asset purchase agreement, the Company agreed to pay an additional $0.9 million in consideration if the migration of Restaurant Kritiks content to Yelp is completed within one year of the acquisition date. The estimated fair value of the contingent consideration was approximately $0.8 million as of the acquisition date and $0.8 million as of March 31, 2015, and is included in current liabilities on the Companys consolidated balance sheet.
The following table presents the aggregate purchase price allocations of these individually immaterial acquisitions recorded in the Companys condensed consolidated balance sheets as of their acquisition dates (in thousands):
|Net tangible assets||$||(277||)|
|Total purchase price (excluding contingent consideration)||15,264|
|Total purchase price||$||16,090|
Estimated useful lives as of the acquisition dates of the intangible assets acquired are as follows:
|Intangible Type||Useful Life|
|Developed technology||0.5 years|
|Trade name||2 years|
|Weighted average||4.3 years|
The intangible assets are being amortized on a straight-line basis, which reflects the pattern in which the economic benefits of the intangible assets are being utilized. The goodwill represents the excess value over both tangible and intangible assets acquired. The goodwill in these transactions is primarily attributable to traffic and the opportunity for expansion. None of the goodwill is deductible for tax purposes.
On October 23, 2012, the Company, through Yelp Ireland Ltd., completed the acquisition of all the outstanding equity interests of Qype GmbH and its subsidiaries (collectively, Qype) for approximately $24.3 million in cash and Yelp Class A common stock with an approximate fair value of $23.3 million. Of the total consideration paid in connection with the acquisition, $10.3 million was held in the form of cash in escrow to secure indemnification obligations. In March 2015, approximately $0.7 million was released to the Company from the escrow fund relating to this acquisition, and is included in other income (expense), net. The remaining funds were distributed to the former Qype shareholders; accordingly, the balance remaining in the escrow fund was zero as of March 31, 2015.
5. CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS
Cash and cash equivalents as of March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014 consist of the following (in thousands):
|March 31,||December 31,|
|Cash and cash equivalents|
|Money market funds||115,506||208,593|
|Total cash and cash equivalents||$||172,629||$||247,312|
The lease agreements for certain of the Companys offices require the Company to maintain letters of credit issued to the landlords of each facility. Each letter of credit is subject to renewal annually until the applicable lease expires and is collateralized by restricted cash. As of March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014, the Company had letters of credit totaling $17.9 million related to such leases.
6. PROPERTY, EQUIPMENT AND SOFTWARE, NET
Property, equipment and software, net as of March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014 consist of the following (in thousands):
|March 31,||December 31,|
|Capitalized website and internal-use software development costs||31,372||27,602|
|Furniture and fixtures||8,569||6,621|
|Less accumulated depreciation||(35,090||)||(30,976||)|
|Property, equipment and software, net||$||68,594||$||62,761|
Depreciation expense for the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014 was approximately $5.6 million and $2.8 million, respectively.
7. GOODWILL AND INTANGIBLE ASSETS
The Companys goodwill is the result of its acquisitions of other businesses, and represents the excess of purchase consideration over the fair value of assets and liabilities acquired.
The changes in the carrying amount of goodwill during the three months ended March 31, 2015 were as follows (in thousands):
|Balance as of December 31, 2014||$||67,307|
|Goodwill measurement period adjustment||51|
|Effect of currency translation||(6,125||)|
|Balance as of March 31, 2015||$||172,160|
Intangible assets at March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014 consist of the following (dollars in thousands):
|March 31, 2015:|
|Restaurant and user relationships||$||29,400||$||(401||)||$||28,999||9.7 years|
|Developed and acquired technology||9,291||(1,131||)||8,160||4.8 years|
|Data licenses and domains||2,291||(497||)||1,794||3.6 years|
|Trade name and other||3,347||(552||)||2,795||3.7 years|
|December 31, 2014:|
|Developed and acquired technology||$||1,963||$||(861||)||$||1,102||4.2 years|
|Advertiser relationships||1,853||(1,853||)||||0.0 years|
|Data licenses and domains||1,977||(326||)||1,651||4.5 years|
|Trade name and other||596||(469||)||127||1.4 years|
Amortization expense for the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014 was $1.2 million and $0.6 million, respectively.
As of March 31, 2015, the estimated future amortization of purchased intangible assets for (i) the remaining nine months of 2015, (ii) each of the succeeding four years and (iii) the succeeding fifth year and thereafter are as follows (in thousands):
|Year Ending December 31,||Amount|
|2015 (from April 1, 2015)||$||5,138|
|2020 and thereafter||14,150|
8. ACCRUED LIABILITIES
Accrued liabilities as of March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014 consist of the following (in thousands):
|March 31,||December 31,|
|Eat24 restaurant payable||$||9,740||$|||
|Accrued employee related expenses||3,575||1,209|
|Fixed asset purchase commitments||3,544||6,329|
|Accrued employee stock purchase plan liability||3,477||907|
|Accrued cost of sales||2,135||2,052|
|Accrued payroll tax||1,223||1,251|
|Merchant revenue share liability||1,160||1,218|
|Accrued income, withholding and business taxes||836||1,354|
|Other accrued expenses||6,671||5,862|
9. OTHER INCOME (EXPENSE), NET
Other income (expense), net for the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014 consist of the following (in thousands):
|Three Months Ended|
|Transaction (loss) on foreign exchange||(171||)||(49||)|
|Other non-operating income, net||433||13|
|Other income (expense), net||$||562||$||(2||)|
10. COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
Office Facility Leases The Company leases its office facilities under operating lease agreements that expire from 2015 to 2025. Certain lease agreements provide for rental payments on a graduated basis. The Company recognizes rent expense on a straight-line basis over the lease period. Rental expense was $6.9 million and $3.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014, respectively.
Legal Proceedings The Company is subject to legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of business. Although the results of litigation and claims cannot be predicted with certainty, the Company currently does not believe that the final outcome of any of these matters will have a material adverse effect on the Companys business, financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
In August 2014, two putative class action lawsuits alleging violations of federal securities laws were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, naming as defendants the Company and certain of its officers. The lawsuits allege violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, by the Company and its officers for allegedly making materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company's business and operations between October 29, 2013 and April 3, 2014. These cases were subsequently consolidated and, in January 2015, plaintiffs filed a consolidated complaint seeking unspecified monetary damages and other relief. On February 6, 2015, the Company and the other named defendants filed a motion to dismiss the consolidated complaint, which the court granted on April 21, 2015 following a hearing on the motion. The plaintiffs have until May 21, 2015 to file an amended complaint.
On April 23, 2015, a putative class action lawsuit was filed by former Eat24 employees in the Superior Court of California for San Francisco County, naming as defendants Yelp Inc. and Eat24. The lawsuit asserts that the defendants failed to permit meal and rest periods for certain current and former employees working as Eat24 customer support specialists, and alleges violations of the California Labor Code, applicable Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders and the California Business and Professions Code. The plaintiffs seek monetary damages in an unspecified amount and injunctive relief.
Indemnification Agreements In the ordinary course of business, the Company may provide indemnifications of varying scope and terms to customers, vendors, lessors, business partners and other parties with respect to certain matters, including, but not limited to, losses arising out of breach of such agreements, services to be provided by the Company or from intellectual property infringement claims made by third parties. In addition, the Company has entered into indemnification agreements with directors and certain officers and employees that will require the Company to, among other things, indemnify them against certain liabilities that may arise by reason of their status or service as directors, officers or employees.
While the outcome of these matters cannot be predicted with certainty, the Company does not believe that the outcome of any claims under indemnification arrangements will have a material effect on the Companys financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
11. STOCKHOLDERS EQUITY
The following table presents the shares authorized and the shares issued and outstanding as of the periods presented:
|March 31, 2015||December 31, 2014|
|Shares||Issued and||Shares||Issued and|
|Class A common stock, $0.000001 par value||200,000,000||65,050,726||200,000,000||63,062,071|
|Class B common stock, $0.000001 par value||100,000,000||9,600,608||100,000,000||9,858,511|
|Common stock, $0.000001 par value||200,000,000||||200,000,000|||
|Undesignated Preferred Stock||10,000,000||||10,000,000|||
Equity Incentive Plans
The Company has outstanding awards under three equity incentive plans: the Amended and Restated 2005 Equity Incentive Plan (the 2005 Plan), the 2011 Equity Incentive Plan (the 2011 Plan) and the 2012 Equity Incentive Plan, as amended (the 2012 Plan). In July 2011, the Company terminated the 2005 Plan and provided that no further stock awards were to be granted under the 2005 Plan. All outstanding stock awards under the 2005 Plan continue to be governed by their existing terms. Upon the effectiveness of the underwriting agreement in connection with the Companys initial public offering (IPO), all shares that were reserved under the 2011 Plan but not issued were assumed by the 2012 Plan. No further awards will be granted pursuant to the 2011 Plan. All outstanding stock awards under the 2011 Plan continue to be governed by their existing terms. Under the 2012 Plan, the Company has the ability to issue incentive stock options, non-statutory stock options, stock appreciation rights, restricted stock units (RSUs), restricted stock awards (RSAs), performance units and performance shares. Additionally, the 2012 Plan provides for the grant of performance cash awards to employees, directors and consultants.
Stock options granted under the 2012 Plan are granted at a price per share not less than the fair value at date of grant. Options granted to date generally vest either over a four-year period with 25% vesting at the end of one year and the remaining shares vesting monthly thereafter, or over a four-year period with 10% vesting over the first year, 20% vesting over the second year, 30% vesting over the third year and 40% vesting over the fourth year. Options granted are generally exercisable for up to 10 years. A summary of stock option activity for the three months ended March 31, 2015 is as follows:
|Number of||Exercise||Term (in||Value|
|Outstanding January 1, 2015||9,037,935||$||19.64||7.26||$||324,160|
|Outstanding March 31, 2015||8,921,321||$||20.65||7.12||$||250,236|
|Options vested and expected to vest as of March 31, 2015||8,518,476||$||20.10||7.07||$||242,924|
|Options vested and exercisable as of March 31, 2015||4,952,575||$||14.46||6.50||$||165,596|
Aggregate intrinsic value represents the difference between the closing price of the Companys Class A common stock and the exercise price of outstanding, in-the-money options. The total intrinsic value of options exercised was approximately $10.2 million and $52.0 million for the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014, respectively. The weighted-average grant date fair value of options granted was $28.16 and $45.83 per share for the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014, respectively.
As of March 31, 2015, total unrecognized compensation costs, adjusted for estimated forfeitures, related to unvested stock options was approximately $47.0 million, which is expected to be recognized over a weighted-average time period of 1.93 years.
RSUs and RSAs
The cost of RSUs and RSAs are determined using the fair value of the Companys common stock on the date of grant. RSUs and RSAs generally vest either over a four-year period with 25% vesting at the end of one year and the remaining vesting quarterly or annually thereafter, or over a four-year period with 10% vesting over the first year, 20% vesting over the second year, 30% vesting over the third year and 40% vesting over the fourth year. A summary of RSU and RSA activity for the three months ended March 31, 2015 is as follows:
|Restricted Stock Units||Restricted Stock Awards|
|Number of||Date Fair||Number||Date Fair|
|UnvestedJanuary 1, 2015||1,131,849||$||64.96||30,970||$||9.48|
|UnvestedMarch 31, 2015||1,642,375||$||60.94||21,283||$||9.63|
As of March 31, 2015, the Company had approximately $75.1 million of unrecognized stock-based compensation expense, net of estimated forfeitures, related to RSUs and RSAs, which will be recognized over the remaining weighted-average vesting period of approximately 3.35 years.
Employee Stock Purchase Plan
The ESPP allows eligible employees to purchase shares of the Companys Class A common stock at a discount through payroll deductions of up to 15% of their eligible compensation, subject to any plan limitations during designated offering periods. At the end of each offering period that began prior to December 1, 2014, employees are able to purchase shares at 85% of the lower of the fair market value of the Companys Class A common stock on the first trading day of the offering period or on the last day of the offering period. At the end of each offering period that began December 1, 2014 or later, employees are able to purchase shares at 85% of the fair market value of the Companys Class A common stock on the last day of the offering period. There were no shares purchased by employees under the ESPP during the three months ended March 31, 2015 or 2014. The Company recognized $1.4 million and $1.1 million of stock-based compensation related to the ESPP during the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014, respectively.
The following table summarizes the effects of stock-based compensation related to stock-based awards in the condensed consolidated statements of operations during the periods presented (in thousands):
|Three Months Ended|
|Cost of revenue||$||124||$||150|
|Sales and marketing||4,937||3,397|
|General and administrative||3,505||2,867|
|Total stock-based compensation in loss before income taxes||$||13,671||$||9,456|
The Company capitalized stock-based compensation as website development costs of $0.7 million and $0.3 million in the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014, respectively.
12. NET LOSS PER SHARE
Basic and diluted net income (loss) per share attributable to common stockholders is presented in conformity with the two-class method required for participating securities. Immediately prior to the consummation of the IPO in March 2012, all outstanding shares of preferred stock and common stock were converted to Class B common stock. As a result, shares of Class A and Class B common stock are the only outstanding equity in the Company. The rights of the holders of Class A and Class B common stock are identical, except with respect to voting and conversion. Each share of Class A common stock is entitled to one vote per share and each share of Class B common stock is entitled to 10 votes per share. Shares of Class B common stock may be converted into Class A common stock at any time at the option of the stockholder, and are automatically converted upon sale or transfer to Class A common stock, subject to certain limited exceptions, and in connection with certain other conversion events.
Basic net income (loss) per share is computed using the weighted-average number of shares of common stock outstanding during the period. Diluted net income per share is computed using the weighted-average number of shares of common stock and, if dilutive, potential shares of common stock outstanding during the period. The Companys potential shares of common stock consist of the incremental shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of stock options and, to a lesser extent, shares issuable upon the vesting of RSUs, RSAs and purchases related to the ESPP. The dilutive effect of these potential shares of common stock is reflected in diluted earnings per share by application of the treasury stock method. The computation of the diluted net income (loss) per share of Class A common stock assumes the conversion of Class B common stock, while the diluted net income (loss) per share of Class B common stock does not assume the conversion of Class B common stock.
The undistributed earnings are allocated based on the contractual participation rights of the Class A and Class B common stock as if the earnings for the year have been distributed. As the liquidation and dividend rights are identical, the undistributed earnings are allocated on a proportionate basis. Further, as the conversion of Class B common stock is assumed in the computation of the diluted net income (loss) per share of Class A common stock, the undistributed earnings are equal to net income (loss) for that computation.
The following table presents the calculation of basic and diluted net loss per share (in thousands, except per share data):
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|Class A||Class B||Class A||Class B|
|Net loss attributable to common stockholders||$||(1,115||)||$||(169||)||$||(2,217||)||$||(418||)|
|Weighted-average common shares outstanding||63,976||9,708||59,868||11,303|
|Weighted-average shares used to compute diluted net loss per share||63,976||9,708||59,868||11,303|
|Net loss per share attributable to common stockholders|
The following weighted-average stock-based instruments were excluded from the calculation of diluted net loss per share because their effect would have been anti-dilutive for the periods presented (in thousands):
|Three Months Ended|
|Restricted stock units||1,642||547|
|Restricted stock awards||21||64|
|Employee stock purchase plan shares||81||89|
13. INCOME TAXES
The Company is subject to income tax in the United States as well as other tax jurisdictions in which it conducts business. Earnings from non-U.S. activities are subject to local country income tax. The Company does not provide for federal income taxes on the undistributed earnings of its foreign subsidiaries as such earnings are to be reinvested indefinitely. The Company recorded an income tax benefit of $2.4 million and $2.0 million for the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014, respectively. The tax benefit for the three months ended March 31, 2015 is due to $2.0 million in U.S. federal and state and foreign income tax benefits, and $0.4 million discrete benefits.
The primary difference between the effective tax rate and the federal statutory tax rate relates to the valuation allowances on certain of the Companys net operating losses, foreign tax rate differences, meals and entertainment, tax credits, and non-deductible stock-based compensation expense. As of March 31, 2015, the total amount of gross unrecognized tax benefits was $3.4 million, $0.1 million of which is subject to a full valuation allowance and would not affect the Companys effective tax rate if recognized. Included in the balance of unrecognized tax benefits as of March 31, 2015, is $3.3 million of tax benefits that, if recognized, would affect the effective tax rate. As of March 31, 2015, the Company had an immaterial amount related to the accrual of interest and penalties. During the three months ended March 31, 2015, the Companys gross unrecognized tax benefits increased by $0.2 million, all of which would affect the Companys effective tax rate if recognized.
The Company does not have any tax positions as of March 31, 2015 for which it is reasonably possible that the total amount of gross unrecognized tax benefits will significantly increase or decrease within the next 12 months.
14. INFORMATION ABOUT REVENUE AND GEOGRAPHIC AREAS
The Company considers operating segments to be components of the Company in which separate financial information is available that is evaluated regularly by the Companys chief operating decision maker in deciding how to allocate resources and in assessing performance. The chief operating decision maker for the Company is the Chief Executive Officer. The Chief Executive Officer reviews financial information presented on a consolidated basis, accompanied by information about revenue by product line and geographic region for purposes of allocating resources and evaluating financial performance.
The Company has one business activity and there are no segment managers who are held accountable for operations, operating results or plans for levels or components below the consolidated unit level. Accordingly, the Company has determined that it has a single operating and reporting segment.
Revenue by geography is based on the billing address of the customer. The following tables present the Companys net revenue by product line and long-lived assets by geographic region for the periods presented (in thousands):
|Three Months Ended|
|Net revenue by product:|
|Total net revenue||$||118,508||$||76,407|
During the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014, a substantial majority of the Companys revenue was generated in the United States. In addition, no individual customer accounted for 10% or more of consolidated net revenue in either period.
|March 31,||December 31,|
|All Other Countries||5,084||5,900|
|ITEM 2.||MANAGEMENTS DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS|
You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations in conjunction with our condensed consolidated financial statements and related notes appearing elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q (the Quarterly Report).
Forward Looking Information
This Quarterly Report contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions that, if they never materialize or prove incorrect, could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. The statements contained in this Quarterly Report that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the Securities Act), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act). Forward-looking statements are often identified by the use of words such as, but not limited to, anticipate, believe, can, continue, could, estimate, expect, intend, look, may, might, plan, project, seek, should, strategy, target, will, would, and similar expressions or variations intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are based on the beliefs and assumptions of our management based on information currently available to management. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause actual results and the timing of certain events to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those identified below and those discussed in the section titled Risk Factors included under Part II, Item 1A below. Furthermore, such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this Quarterly Report. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements.
Yelp connects people with great local businesses by bringing word of mouth online and providing a platform for businesses and consumers to engage and transact. Our platform provides value to consumers and businesses alike by connecting consumers with local businesses at the critical moment when they are deciding where to spend their money. Each day, millions of consumers use our platform to find and interact with local businesses, which in turn use our free and paid services to help them engage with consumers. The Yelp Platform, which allows consumers and businesses to transact directly on Yelp, provides consumers with a continuous experience from discovery to completion of transactions and local businesses with an additional point of consumer engagement.
Our success is primarily the result of significant investment in our communities, employees, content, brand and technology. We believe that continued investment in our business provides our largest opportunity for future growth and plan to continue to invest for long-term growth in our key strategies:
|●||Accelerate Network Effect. We plan to invest in marketing and product development aimed at both attracting more, and increasing the usage of, consumers as we look to leverage our brand and benefit from accelerating network dynamics in Yelp communities. For example, in February 2015, we acquired Eat24Hours.com, Inc., a leading web and app-based food ordering service (Eat24), which we believe will drive daily engagement in the key restaurant vertical. We believe that expanding our content will also attract new consumers as well as increase the number of visits and searches per user, and so will continue to expand our community engagement efforts and explore new ways to enable contributors to share content.|
|●||Enhance Monetization. While our core local advertising business in the United States has a significant and growing base of revenue, we have invested, and will continue to invest, in several initiatives to enhance our monetization opportunities. One such initiative has been, and will continue to be, to aggressively grow our sales force in order to reach more businesses. We will also continue expanding the Yelp Platform, business owner tools and other partnerships to encourage businesses to advertise on our platform. For example, in the first quarter of 2015, we added the ability for consumers to book a golf tee time, send flowers, book bottle service and schedule legal consultations.|
Our overall strategy is to invest for long-term growth. During the remainder of 2015, we expect to continue to invest heavily in our sales and marketing efforts to grow domestically and internationally, and to continue the integration of Eat24. As of March 31, 2015, we had 3,121 employees, which represents an increase of 45% compared to March 31, 2014.
We regularly review a number of metrics, including the following key metrics, to evaluate our business, measure our performance, identify trends in our business, prepare financial projections and make strategic decisions.
Number of reviews represents the cumulative number of reviews submitted to Yelp since inception, as of the period end, including reviews that are not recommended or that have been removed from our platform. In addition to the text of the review, each review includes a rating of one to five stars. We include reviews that are not recommended and that have been removed because all of them are either currently accessible on our platform or were accessible at some point in time, providing information that may be useful for users to evaluate businesses and individual reviewers. Because our automated recommendation software continually reassesses which reviews to recommend based on new information, the recommended or not recommended status of reviews may change over time. Reviews that are not recommended or that have been removed do not factor into a businesss overall star rating. By clicking on a link on a reviewed businesss page on our website, users can access the reviews that are not recommended for the business, as well as the star rating and other information about reviews that were removed for violation of our terms of service.
As of March 31, 2015, approximately 72.0 million reviews were available on business profile pages, including approximately 17.1 million reviews that were not recommended, after accounting for 5.3 million reviews that had been removed from our platform, either by us for violation of our terms of service or by the users who contributed them. The following table presents the number of cumulative reviews as of the dates presented:
|As of March 31,|
Desktop Unique Visitors
We define unique visitors as the average number of monthly unique visitors over a given three-month period. We define monthly unique visitors as the sum of (i) the number of users, as measured by Google Analytics, who have visited our mobile-optimized website at least once in a given month and (ii) the number of users who have visited our non-mobile optimized website (desktop unique visitors) at least once in a given month. Unique visitors do not include users who access our platform solely through our mobile app. Google Analytics, a product from Google Inc. that provides digital marketing intelligence, measures users based on unique cookie identifiers. Because the number of unique visitors is therefore based on unique cookies, an individual who accesses our website from multiple devices, either desktop or through a mobile device, with different cookies may be counted as multiple unique visitors, and multiple individuals who access our website from a shared device with a single cookie may be counted as a single unique visitor.
Of the approximately 142.5 million unique visitors for the quarter ended March 31, 2015, approximately 79.5 million, or 56%, were desktop unique visitors, compared with approximately 82.2 million, or 62%, desktop unique visitors out of 132.5 million unique visitors for the quarter ended March 31, 2014. We anticipate that use of our mobile platform will be the driver of our growth for the foreseeable future and that usage of our non-mobile optimized website through desktop computers will continue to decline worldwide. Accordingly, going forward, we do not plan to disclose total unique visitors and will instead provide a breakout of desktop unique visitors and mobile unique visitors (as discussed in more detail below) to provide greater visibility into our business and the drivers of our growth. The following table presents our desktop unique visitors for the periods indicated:
|Three Months Ended|
|Desktop Unique Visitors||79,543||82,211|
Mobile Unique Visitors
We define mobile unique visitors as the average number of monthly mobile unique visitors over a given three-month period. We define monthly mobile unique visitors to be the sum of (i) the number of users who have visited our mobile-optimized website at least once in a given month and (ii) the number of unique mobile devices using our mobile app in a given month. Under this method of calculation, an individual who accesses both our mobile-optimized website and our mobile app, or accesses either our mobile-optimized website or our mobile app from multiple mobile devices, will be counted as multiple mobile unique visitors. Multiple individuals who access either our mobile-optimized website or mobile app from a shared device will be counted as a single mobile unique visitor. The following table presents our mobile unique visitors for the periods indicated:
|Three Months Ended|
|Mobile Unique Visitors||78,962||61,190|
Of the mobile unique visitors for the quarter ended March 31, 2015, approximately 16.0 million were unique mobile devices using our mobile app, compared to 10.9 million in the quarter ended March 31, 2014.
Claimed Local Business Locations
The number of claimed local business locations represents the cumulative number of business locations that have been claimed on Yelp worldwide since 2008, as of a given date. We define a claimed local business location as each business address for which a business representative visits our website and claims the free business listing page for the business located at that address. The following table presents the number of cumulative claimed local business locations as of the dates presented:
|As of March 31,|
|Claimed Local Business Locations||2,193||1,623|
Local Advertising Accounts
Local advertising accounts comprise all local business accounts from which we recognize revenue in a given three-month period, excluding local business accounts from which we recognize Yelp Deals revenue only. The following table presents the number of local advertising accounts during the periods presented:
|Three Months Ended|
|Local Advertising Accounts||90||63|
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
To provide investors with additional information regarding our financial results, we have disclosed in this Quarterly Report adjusted EBITDA and non-GAAP net income, which are non-GAAP financial measures. We have provided a reconciliation below of both adjusted EBITDA and non-GAAP net income to net loss, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure in each case.
We have included adjusted EBITDA and non-GAAP net income because they are key measures used by our management and board of directors to understand and evaluate our operating performance and trends, to prepare and approve our annual budget and to develop short- and long-term operational plans. In particular, the exclusion of certain expenses in calculating adjusted EBITDA and non-GAAP net income can provide a useful measure for period-to-period comparisons of our core business. Accordingly, we believe that adjusted EBITDA and non-GAAP net income provide useful information to investors and others in understanding and evaluating our operating results in the same manner as our management and board of directors.
Adjusted EBITDA and non-GAAP net income have limitations as analytical tools, and you should not consider them in isolation or as substitutes for analysis of our results as reported under GAAP. In particular, adjusted EBITDA and non-GAAP net income should not be viewed as a substitute for, or superior to, net loss prepared in accordance with GAAP as a measure of profitability or liquidity. Some of these limitations are:
|●||although depreciation and amortization are
non-cash charges, the assets being depreciated and amortized may have to
be replaced in the future, and adjusted EBITDA and non-GAAP net income do
not reflect cash capital expenditure requirements for such replacements or
for new capital expenditure requirements;|
|●||adjusted EBITDA does not reflect changes in, or
cash requirements for, our working capital needs;|
|●||adjusted EBITDA and non-GAAP net income do not
consider the potentially dilutive impact of equity-based
|●||adjusted EBITDA does not reflect
tax payments that may represent a reduction in cash available to us;
|●||other companies, including companies in our industry, may calculate adjusted EBITDA and non-GAAP net income differently, which reduces their usefulness as comparative measures.|
Because of these limitations, you should consider adjusted EBITDA and non-GAAP net income alongside other financial performance measures, including various cash flow metrics, net loss and our other GAAP results. The tables below present reconciliations of adjusted EBITDA and non-GAAP net income to net loss for each of the periods indicated:
|Three Months Ended|
|Reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to GAAP Net Loss:|
|Benefit from income taxes||(2,403||)||(1,971||)|
|Other (income) expense, net||(562||)||2|
|Depreciation and amortization||6,895||3,661|
Non-GAAP Net Income
|Three Months Ended|
|Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Net Income to GAAP Net Loss:|
|Amortization of intangible assets||1,231||626|
|Tax effect of stock-based compensation and amortization of intangibles||(5,716||)||(3,860||)|
|Valuation allowance release (net of tax)||||1,958|
|Non-GAAP net income||$||7,902||$||5,545|
Results of Operations
The following table sets forth our results of operations for the periods presented as a percentage of net revenue for those periods (certain items may not foot due to rounding). The period-to-period comparison of financial results is not necessarily indicative of the results of operations to be anticipated for the full year 2015 or any future period.
|Three Months Ended|
|(as percentage of net revenue)|
|Consolidated Statements of Operations Data:|
|Net revenue by product:|
|Total net revenue||100||%||100||%|
|Costs and expenses:|
|Cost of revenue (exclusive of depreciation and amortization shown separately|
|Sales and marketing||53||59|
|General and administrative||17||17|
|Depreciation and amortization||6||5|
|Total costs and expenses||104||106|
|Loss from operations||(4||)||(6||)|
|Other income (expense), net|||||
|Loss before income taxes||(3||)||(6||)|
|Benefit from income taxes||2||3|
Three Months Ended March 31, 2015 and 2014
We generate revenue from local advertising, brand advertising and other services. The following provides a description of our revenue by product:
Local Advertising. We generate revenue from local advertising programs, including enhanced profile pages and performance and impression-based advertising in search results and elsewhere on our website and mobile app. We also generate local advertising revenue from our SeatMe restaurant reservation product, a monthly subscription service.
Brand Advertising. We generate revenue from brand advertising through the sale of advertising solutions for national brands that want to improve their local presence in the form of display advertisements and brand sponsorships. Our national advertisers include leading brands in the automobile, financial services, logistics, consumer goods and health and fitness industries.
Other Services. We generate other revenue through Eat24, partner arrangements, the sale of Yelp Deals and Gift Certificates, and monetization of remnant advertising inventory through third-party ad networks. Eat24 generates revenue through arrangements with restaurants in which restaurants pay a fixed fee commission on orders placed through Eat24s platform. Our fixed-fee partner arrangements include allowing third-party data providers to update business listing information on behalf of businesses. Our revenue-sharing partner arrangements provide consumers with the ability to complete food delivery transactions and make online reservations through third parties directly on Yelp. Yelp Deals allow merchants to promote themselves and offer discounted goods and services on a real-time basis to consumers directly on our website and mobile app. We earn a fee on Yelp Deals for acting as an agent in these transactions, which we record on a net basis and include in revenue upon a consumers purchase of a deal. Gift Certificates allow merchants to sell full-priced gift certificates directly to consumers through their business profile pages. We earn a fee based on the amount of the Gift Certificate sold, which we record on a net basis and include in revenue upon a consumers purchase of the Gift Certificate.
|Three Months Ended||2015 %|
|(dollars in thousands)|
|Net revenue by product:|
|Total net revenue||$||118,508||$||76,407||55||%|
|Net revenue by product:|
|Total net revenue||100||%||100||%|
Total net revenue increased $42.1 million, or 55%, in the three months ended March 31, 2015, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2014. Our local advertising revenue increased $33.4 million, or 51%, primarily due to a significant increase in the number of customers purchasing local advertising plans as we expanded our sales force to reach more local businesses. Our brand advertising revenue decreased $0.8 million, or 11%, primarily due to a decrease in the number of brand advertisers. Our other services revenue increased by $9.6 million, or 254%, primarily due to revenue from Eat24, which we acquired in February 2015, as well as an increase in revenue from partnership arrangements, the sale of Yelp Deals and remnant advertising inventory.
Cost of Revenue
Our cost of revenue consists primarily of network costs, credit card processing fees and web hosting, as well as salaries, benefits and stock-based compensation for our infrastructure teams related to operating our website. It also includes video production expenses and creative design for brand advertising.
|Three Months Ended||2015 %|
|(dollars in thousands)|
|Cost of revenue||$||8,699||$||5,077||71||%|
|Percentage of net revenue||7||%||7||%|
In the three months ended March 31, 2015, cost of revenue increased $3.6 million, or 71%, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2014. The increase was primarily attributable to an increase of $1.6 million in outside hosting and Internet service fees, which are necessary to support the increase in visitors to our website and transactions completed on our website. In addition, set up costs, including video production, for local advertising account pages increased by $0.1 million due to increased demand by local businesses for video on their business pages. Expenses related to creative design for brand and local advertising customers also increased by $0.5 million. In addition, merchant fees related to credit card transactions for local advertising increased $1.6 million. This was offset by a decrease of $0.2 million for headcount and related expenses, due to an increase in the proportion of employees dedicated to capitalized website infrastructure projects.
Sales and Marketing
Our sales and marketing expenses primarily consist of salaries, benefits, stock-based compensation expense, travel expense and incentive compensation expense for our sales and marketing employees. In addition, sales and marketing expenses include business acquisition marketing, community management, branding and advertising costs, as well as allocated facilities and other supporting overhead costs. Our focus to date has been on organic and viral growth driven by the community development efforts of our community management team, which is responsible for growing and fostering local communities, as well as coordinating events to raise awareness of our brand. As a result, we have incurred minimal sales and marketing expenses to acquire organic traffic to our platform. However, we have begun selectively testing advertising to consumers through various channels and plan to continue to do so during the remainder of 2015.
We expect our community management costs to increase as we continue to expand to new markets and within existing markets. We expect our sales and marketing expenses to increase as we expand our domestic and international footprint, increase the number of local advertising accounts and continue to build our brand. The substantial majority of these expenses will be related to hiring sales employees and Community Managers. We expect sales and marketing expenses to increase and to be our largest expense for the foreseeable future.
|Three Months Ended||2015 %|
|(dollars in thousands)|
|Sales and marketing||$||63,266||$||45,121||40||%|
|Percentage of net revenue||53||%||59||%|
In the three months ended March 31, 2015, sales and marketing expenses increased $18.1 million, or 40%, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2014. The increase was primarily attributable to an increase in headcount and related expenses of $10.0 million, including an increase in stock-based compensation expense of $1.5 million, as we expanded our sales organization to take advantage of the market opportunity created by increased recognition of the value of our platform and increased use of our free online business accounts. In addition, we experienced an increase in facilities and related allocations of $4.8 million. As a result of new marketing campaigns, domestic and international marketing and advertising costs increased by $3.5 million. This was offset by a decrease in our commission expenses of $0.2 million due to a decrease in brand revenue.
Our product development expenses primarily consist of salaries, benefits and stock-based compensation expense for our engineers, product management and information technology personnel. Product development expenses also include outside services and consulting, allocated facilities and other supporting overhead costs. We believe that continued investment in features, software development tools and code modification is important to attaining our strategic objectives and, as a result, we expect product development expense to increase for the foreseeable future.
|Three Months Ended||2015 %|
|(dollars in thousands)|
|Percentage of net revenue||20||%||18||%|
In the three months ended March 31, 2015, product development expenses increased $10.0 million, or 71%, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2014. The increase was primarily attributable to an increase in headcount and related expenses of $7.6 million, including an increase in stock-based compensation expense of $2.7 million. In addition, we experienced an increase in facilities and related expenses of $1.6 million as a result of the increase in headcount. Use of outside consultants also increased by $0.8 million as we continued to invest in adding features and functionality to our website and mobile app.
General and Administrative
Our general and administrative expenses primarily consist of salaries, benefits and stock-based compensation expense for our executive, finance, user operations, legal, human resources and other administrative employees. Our general and administrative expenses also include outside consulting, legal and accounting services, as well as facilities and other supporting overhead costs not allocated to other departments. We expect our general and administrative expenses to increase for the foreseeable future as we continue to expand our business.
|Three Months Ended||2015 %|
|(dollars in thousands)|
|General and administrative||$||19,937||$||13,170||51||%|
|Percentage of net revenue||17||%||17||%|
In the three months ended March 31, 2015, general and administrative expenses increased $6.8 million, or 51%, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2014. The increase was primarily attributable to an increase in headcount and related expenses of $2.6 million, including an increase in stock-based compensation expense of $0.6 million. Additionally, we invested in our systems and support for the growth of the business through the use of outside consultants, which contributed to the increase by $1.7 million. We also experienced an increase in facilities and related expenses of $0.6 million and an increase in bad debt expense of $1.9 million.
Depreciation and Amortization
Depreciation and amortization expenses primarily consist of depreciation on computer equipment, software, leasehold improvements, capitalized website and software development costs and amortization of purchased intangible assets. We expect depreciation and amortization expenses to increase for the foreseeable future as we continue to expand our technology infrastructure.
|Three Months Ended||2015 %|
|(dollars in thousands)|
|Depreciation and amortization||$||6,895||$||3,661||88||%|
|Percentage of net revenue||6||%||5||%|
In the three months ended March 31, 2015, depreciation and amortization expenses increased $3.2 million, or 88%, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2014. The increase was primarily the result of our investments in expanding our technology infrastructure and capital assets to support our increase in headcount across the organization. Depreciation and amortization related to our fixed assets and capitalized website and software development costs increased $2.6 million. In addition, amortization related to our intangible assets increased by $0.6 million, primarily due to intangibles acquired in the Eat24 acquisition.
Other Income (Expense), Net
Other income (expense), net consists primarily of the interest income earned on our cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities, gains and losses on the disposal of assets, and foreign exchange gains and losses.
|Three Months Ended||2015 %|
|(dollars in thousands)|
|Transaction loss on foreign exchange||(171||)||(49||)||249||%|
|Other non-operating income, net||433||13||3231||%|
|Other income (expense), net||$||562||$||(2||)||NM*|
|Percentage of net revenue||||%||||%|
In the three months ended March 31, 2015, other income (expense), net increased by $0.6 million compared to the three months ended March 31, 2014. The increase was driven primarily by an increase in interest income related to marketable securities, as well as other non-operating income from the release of cash in escrow relating to the Qype acquisition, as discussed in Note 4 to the condensed consolidated financial statements. This was offset by an increase in foreign exchange losses due to unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates during the three months ended March 31, 2015 compared to the three months ended March 31, 2014.
Benefit from Income Taxes
Benefit from income taxes consists of federal and state income taxes in the United States and income taxes in certain foreign jurisdictions, deferred income taxes reflecting the net tax effects of temporary differences between the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities for financial reporting purposes and the amounts used for income tax purposes, and the realization of net operating loss carryforwards.
|As of March 31,||Change|
|(dollars in thousands)|
|Benefit from income taxes||$||2,403||$||1,971||22||%|
|Percentage of net revenue||2||%||3||%|
For the three months ended March 31, 2015, the Company recognized a tax benefit that primarily consisted of U.S. federal, state and foreign income tax benefits and discrete benefits on year-to-date pre-tax loss, and discrete benefits related to disqualifying dispositions of incentive stock options and shares purchased under our 2012 Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP).
Liquidity and Capital Resources
As of March 31, 2015, we had cash and cash equivalents of $172.6 million. Cash and cash equivalents consist of both cash and money market funds. Our cash held internationally as of March 31, 2015 was $4.5 million. We did not have any outstanding bank loans or credit facilities in place as of March 31, 2015. Our investment portfolio is comprised of highly-rated marketable securities, and our investment policy limits the amount of credit exposure to any one issuer. The policy generally requires securities to be investment grade (i.e. rated A or higher by bond rating firms) with the objective of minimizing the potential risk of principal loss. To date, we have been able to finance our operations and our acquisitions through proceeds from private and public financings, including our initial public offering in March 2012, our follow-on offering in October 2013, cash generated from operations and, to a lesser extent, cash provided by the exercise of employee stock options and purchases under our ESPP.
Our future capital requirements and the adequacy of available funds will depend on many factors, including those set forth under Risk Factors in this Quarterly Report. We believe that our existing cash and cash equivalents, together with any cash generated from operations, will be sufficient to meet our working capital requirements and anticipated purchases of property and equipment for at least the next 12 months. However, this estimate is based on a number of assumptions that may prove to be wrong and we could exhaust our available cash and cash equivalents earlier than presently anticipated. We may require or otherwise seek additional funds in the next 12 months to respond to business challenges, including the need to develop new features and products or enhance existing services, improve our operating infrastructure or acquire complementary businesses and technologies, and, accordingly, we may need to engage in equity or debt financings to secure additional funds.
Amounts deposited with third-party financial institutions exceed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Securities Investor Protection Corporation insurance limits, as applicable. These cash and cash equivalents could be impacted if the underlying financial institutions fail or are subjected to other adverse conditions in the financial markets. To date, we have experienced no loss or lack of access to our cash and cash equivalents; however, we can provide no assurances that access to our invested cash and cash equivalents will not be impacted by adverse conditions in the financial markets.
The following table summarizes our cash flows for the periods presented:
|Three Months Ended |
|Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows Data:|
|Purchases of property, equipment and software||$||10,881||$||4,246|
|Depreciation and amortization||6,895||3,661|
|Cash flows provided by operating activities||25,635||9,323|
|Cash flows used in investing activities||(103,715||)||(6,235||)|
|Cash flows provided by financing activities||4,045||6,413|
Operating Activities. We generated $25.6 million of cash in operating activities in the three months ended March 31, 2015, primarily resulting from our net loss of $1.3 million, which included non-cash depreciation and amortization of $6.9 million, non-cash stock-based compensation expense of $13.7 million, and non-cash provision for doubtful accounts of $3.4 million. In addition, significant changes in our operating assets and liabilities resulted from the following:
increase in accounts receivable of $2.9 million due to an increase in billings for local advertising plans, as well as the timing of payments from these customers;
increase in accounts payable, accrued expenses and other liabilities of $12.0 million related to the growth in our business, increase in accrued vacation and employee-related expenses, and the timing of invoices and payments to vendors; and
increase in prepaids and other assets of $6.0 million relating to the increase in prepaid licenses and deferred tax benefits.
We generated $9.3 million of cash in operating activities in the three months ended March 31, 2014, primarily resulting from our net loss of $2.6 million, offset by non-cash depreciation and amortization of $3.7 million, non-cash stock-based compensation of $9.4 million, and non-cash provision for doubtful accounts of $1.2 million. In addition, operating assets and liabilities changed by $2.4 million, primarily due to the timing of collections on accounts receivable and payments to vendors during the three months ended March 31, 2014.
Investing Activities. Our primary investing activities in the three months ended March 31, 2015 consisted of acquisitions, purchases of marketable securities, purchases of property and equipment to support the ongoing build out of our data centers, leasehold improvements for our headquarters in San Francisco and other locations, the purchase of technology hardware to support our growth in headcount and software to support website and mobile app development, website operations and our corporate infrastructure. Purchases of property and equipment, as well as leasehold improvements, may vary from period to period due to the timing of the expansion of our offices, operations and website and internal-use software and development. We expect to continue to invest in property and equipment, leaseholds and the development of software during the remainder of 2015.
We used $103.7 million of cash in investing activities during the three months ended March 31, 2015. Cash used in investing activities primarily related to the $71.5 million cash purchase price of Eat24, purchases of marketable securities of $36.1 million, an increase in expenditures related to website and internally developed software of $3.2 million, purchases of intangible data licenses of $0.3 million and purchases of property, equipment, software and leasehold improvements of $10.9 million to support our growth in the business. Cash used in investing was offset by $18.3 million of maturities of investment securities held-to-maturity.
We used $6.2 million of cash in investing activities during the three months ended March 31, 2014. Cash used in investing activities primarily related to an increase in expenditures related to website development of $1.6 million, purchases of property, equipment, software and leasehold improvements of $4.2 million to support our growth in the business, and an increase in restricted cash of $0.4 million associated with letters of credit in connection with leased office space.
Financing Activities. During the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014, we generated $4.0 million and $6.4 million, respectively, in financing activities, primarily due to net proceeds from the issuance of common stock upon the exercise of stock options.
Off Balance Sheet Arrangements
We did not have any off balance sheet arrangements in 2014 or the first three months of 2015.
We lease various office facilities, including our corporate headquarters in San Francisco, California, under operating lease agreements that expire from 2015 to 2025. The terms of the lease agreements provide for rental payments on a graduated basis. We recognize rent expense on a straight-line basis over the lease periods. We do not have any debt or material capital lease obligations, and all of our property, equipment and software have been purchased with cash. As of March 31, 2015, we had no material long-term purchase obligations outstanding with any vendors or third parties. As of March 31, 2015, the following table summarizes our future minimum payments under non-cancelable operating leases for equipment and office facilities:
|Payments Due by Period|
|Total||1 Year||1 3 Years||3 5 Years||5 Years|
|Operating lease obligations||$||298,798||$||29,668||$||99,294||$||68,116||$||101,720|
The contractual commitment amounts in the table above are associated with agreements that are enforceable and legally binding. Obligations under contracts that we can cancel without a significant penalty are not included in the table above. As of March 31, 2015, our total liability for uncertain tax positions was $3.4 million. We are not reasonably able to estimate the timing of future cash flow related to this liability. As a result, this amount is not included in the contractual obligations table above.
ITEM 3. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
We have operations both within the United States and internationally, and we are exposed to market risks in the ordinary course of business. These risks include primarily interest rate, foreign exchange risks and inflation.
Interest Rate Fluctuation
The primary objective of our investment activities is to preserve principal while maximizing income without significantly increasing risk.
Our cash and cash equivalents consist of cash and money market funds. We do not have any long-term borrowings. Because our cash and cash equivalents have a relatively short maturity, their fair value is relatively insensitive to interest rate changes. We believe a hypothetical 10% increase in the interest rates as of March 31, 2015 would not have a material impact on our cash and cash equivalents portfolio.
Our marketable securities are comprised of fixed-rate debt securities issued by U.S. corporations, U.S. government agencies and the U.S. Treasury; as such, their fair value may be affected by fluctuations in interest rates in the broader economy. As we have both the ability and intent to hold these securities to maturity, such fluctuations would have no impact on our results of operations.
Foreign Currency Exchange Risk
We have foreign currency risks related to our revenue and operating expenses denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, principally the British pound sterling and the Euro. The volatility of exchange rates depends on many factors that we cannot forecast with reliable accuracy. Although we have experienced and will continue to experience fluctuations in net income (loss) as a result of transaction gains (losses), net related to revaluing certain cash balances, trade accounts receivable balances and intercompany balances that are denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, we believe a hypothetical 10% strengthening/(weakening) of the U.S. dollar against the British pound sterling, either alone or in combination with a hypothetical 10% strengthening/(weakening) of the U.S. dollar against the Euro, would not have a material impact on our results of operations. In the event our foreign sales and expenses increase as a proportion of our overall sales and expenses, our operating results may be more greatly affected by fluctuations in the exchange rates of the currencies in which we do business. At this time we do not, but we may in the future, enter into derivatives or other financial instruments in an attempt to hedge our foreign currency exchange risk. It is difficult to predict the impact hedging activities would have on our results of operations.
We do not believe that inflation has had a material effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. If our costs were to become subject to significant inflationary pressures, we may not be able to fully offset such higher costs through price increases. Our inability or failure to do so could harm our business, financial condition or results of operations.
ITEM 4. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES
Evaluation of Disclosure Controls and Procedures
We maintain disclosure controls and procedures, as defined in Rules 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e) under the Exchange Act, that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by a company in the reports that it files or submits under the Exchange Act is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the SECs rules and forms. Disclosure controls and procedures include, without limitation, controls and procedures designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by a company in the reports that it files or submits under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to the companys management, including its principal executive and principal financial officers, as appropriate to allow timely decisions regarding required disclosure.
Our management, with the participation of our Chief Executive Officer and our Chief Financial Officer, evaluated the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures as of March 31, 2015. Based on the evaluation of our disclosure controls and procedures as of March 31, 2015, our Chief Executive Officer and our Chief Financial Officer concluded that, as of such date, our disclosure controls and procedures were effective at the reasonable assurance level.
Changes in Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
We acquired Eat24 on February 9, 2015. Eat24 operated with a different internal control environment than that of Yelp Inc. Our evaluation of Eat24’s internal controls over financial reporting and integration of Eat24 into our internal control structure is ongoing. Otherwise, there was no change in our internal control over financial reporting identified in connection with the evaluation required Rule 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) under the Exchange Act that occurred during the three months ended March 31, 2015 that has materially affected, or is reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.
Inherent Limitations on Effectiveness of Controls
Our management, including our Chief Executive Officer and our Chief Financial Officer, believes that our disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting are designed to provide reasonable assurance of achieving their objectives and are effective at the reasonable assurance level. However, our management does not expect that our disclosure controls and procedures or our internal control over financial reporting will prevent all errors and all fraud. A control system, no matter how well conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system are met. Further, the design of a control system must reflect the fact that there are resource constraints, and the benefits of controls must be considered relative to their costs. Because of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no evaluation of controls can provide absolute assurance that all control issues and instances of fraud, if any, have been detected. These inherent limitations include the realities that judgments in decision making can be faulty, and that breakdowns can occur because of a simple error or mistake. Additionally, controls can be circumvented by the individual acts of some persons, by the collusion of two or more people or by management override of controls. The design of any system of controls also is based in part upon certain assumptions about the likelihood of future events, and there can be no assurance that any design will succeed in achieving its stated goals under all potential future conditions; over time, controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or the degree of compliance with policies or procedures may deteriorate. Because of the inherent limitations in a cost-effective control system, misstatements due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected.
PART II. OTHER INFORMATION
ITEM 1. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
In August 2014, two putative class action lawsuits alleging violations of federal securities laws were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, naming as defendants us and certain of our officers. The lawsuits allege violations of the Exchange Act by us and our officers for allegedly making materially false and misleading statements regarding our business and operations between October 29, 2013 and April 3, 2014. These cases were subsequently consolidated and, in January 2015, plaintiffs filed a consolidated complaint seeking unspecified monetary damages and other relief. On February 6, 2015, we and the other named defendants filed a motion to dismiss the consolidated complaint, which the court granted on April 21, 2015 following a hearing on the motion. The plaintiffs have until May 21, 2015 to amend their complaint.
On April 23, 2015, a putative class action lawsuit was filed by former Eat24 employees in the Superior Court of California for San Francisco County, naming as defendants us and Eat24. The lawsuit asserts that we failed to permit meal and rest periods for certain current and former employees working as Eat24 customer support specialists, and alleges violations of the California Labor Code, applicable Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders and the California Business and Professions Code. The plaintiffs seek monetary damages in an unspecified amount and injunctive relief.
In addition, we are subject to legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of business. Although the results of litigation and claims cannot be predicted with certainty, we currently do not believe that the final outcome of any of these matters will have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
Our operations and financial results are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including those described below, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and the trading price of our Class A common stock. You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below before making an investment decision.
We have marked with an asterisk (*) those risks described below that reflect substantive changes from the risks described in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014.
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
*If we are unable to increase traffic to our website and mobile app, or user engagement on our platform declines, our revenue, business and operating results may be harmed.
We derive substantially all of our revenue from the sale of advertising, primarily through impression- and click-based advertising. Because traffic to our platform determines the number of ads we are able to show, affects the value of those ads to businesses and influences the content creation that drives further traffic, slower growth rates may harm our business and financial results. As a result, our ability to grow our business depends on our ability to increase traffic to and user engagement on our platform. Our traffic could be adversely affected by factors including:
Reliance on Internet Search Engines. As discussed in greater detail below, we rely on Internet search engines to drive traffic to our platform. However, the display, including rankings, of unpaid search results can be affected by a number of factors, many of which are not in our direct control, and may change frequently. For example, a search engine may change its ranking algorithms, methodologies or design layouts. As a result, links to our website may not be prominent enough to drive traffic to our website, and we may not be in a position to influence the results. Although Internet search engine results have allowed us to attract a large audience with minimal organic traffic acquisition costs to date, if they fail to drive sufficient traffic to our platform in the future, we may need to increase our marketing expenses, which could harm our operating results.
Increasing Competition. The market for information regarding local businesses is intensely competitive and rapidly changing. If the popularity, usefulness, ease of use, performance and reliability of our products and services do not compare favorably to those of our competitors, traffic may decline.
Review Concentration. Our restaurant and shopping categories together accounted for approximately 42% of the businesses that had been reviewed on our platform and approximately 58% of the cumulative reviews through March 31, 2015. If the high concentration of reviews in these categories generates a perception that our platform is primarily limited to these categories, traffic may not increase or may decline.
Our Recommendation Software. If our automated software does not recommend helpful content or recommends unhelpful content, consumers may reduce or stop their use of our platform. While we have designed our technology to avoid recommending content that we believe to be unreliable or otherwise unhelpful, we cannot guarantee that our efforts will be successful.
Content Scraping. From time to time, other companies copy information from our platform, through website scraping, robots or other means, and publish or aggregate it with other information for their own benefit. This may make them more competitive and may decrease the likelihood that consumers will visit our platform to find the local businesses and information they seek. Though we strive to detect and prevent this third-party conduct, we may not be able to detect it in a timely manner and, even if we could, may not be able to prevent it. In some cases, particularly in the case of websites operating outside of the United States, our available remedies may be inadequate to protect us against such conduct.
Internet Access. The adoption of any laws or regulations that adversely affect the growth, popularity or use of the Internet, including laws impacting Internet neutrality, could decrease the demand for our services. Similarly, any actions by companies that provide Internet access that degrade, disrupt or increase the cost of user access to our platform could undermine our operations and result in the loss of users.
Macroeconomic Conditions. Consumer purchases of discretionary items generally decline during recessions and other periods in which disposable income is adversely affected. As a result, adverse economic conditions may impact consumer spending, particularly with respect to local businesses, which in turn could adversely impact the number of consumers visiting our platform.
We also anticipate that our traffic growth rate will continue to slow over time, and potentially decrease in certain periods, as our business matures and we achieve higher penetration rates. In particular, the number of major geographic markets, especially within the United States, that we have not yet entered is declining; further expansion in smaller markets may not yield similar results or sustain our growth. That our traffic growth has slowed in recent quarters even as we have expanded our international presence is a reflection of this trend. As our traffic growth rate slows, our success will become increasingly dependent on our ability to increase levels of user engagement on our platform. This dependence may increase as the portion of our revenue derived from performance-based advertising increases. A number of factors may negatively affect our user engagement, including if:
users engage with other products, services or activities as an alternative to our platform;
there is a decrease in the perceived quality of the content contributed by our users;
we fail to introduce new and improved products or features, or we introduce new products or features that do not effectively address consumer needs or otherwise alienate consumers;
technical or other problems negatively impact the availability and reliability of our platform or otherwise affect the user experience;
users have difficulty installing, updating or otherwise accessing our platform as a result of actions by us or third parties that we rely on to distribute our products;
users believe that their experience is diminished as a result of the decisions we make with respect to the frequency, relevance and prominence of the advertising we display; and
we do not maintain our brand image or our reputation is damaged.
*We rely on Internet search engines and application marketplaces to drive traffic to our platform, certain providers of which offer products and services that compete directly with our solutions. If links to our website and applications are not displayed prominently, traffic to our platform could decline and our business would be adversely affected.
Our success depends in part on our ability to attract users through unpaid Internet search results on search engines like Google and Bing. The number of users we attract from search engines to our website (including our mobile website) is due in large part to how and where information from and links to our website are displayed on search engine result pages. The display, including rankings, of unpaid search results can be affected by a number of factors, many of which are not in our direct control, and may change frequently. For example, a search engine may change its ranking algorithms, methodologies or design layouts. As a result, links to our website may not be prominent enough to drive traffic to our website, and we may not know how or otherwise be in a position to influence the results. Beginning in the second quarter of 2014, for example, Google made changes to its algorithms and methodologies that may be contributing to the recent slowing of our traffic growth rate and decline in traffic in the fourth quarter of 2014. We cannot predict the long-term impact of these changes. Although traffic to our mobile app is less reliant on search results than traffic to our website, growth in mobile device usage may not decrease our overall reliance on search results if mobile users use our mobile website rather than our mobile app. In fact, growth in mobile device usage may exacerbate the risks associated with how and where our website is displayed in search results because mobile device screens are smaller than personal computer screens and therefore display fewer search results.
We also rely on application marketplaces, such as Apples App Store and Googles Play, to drive downloads of our applications. In the future, Apple, Google or other marketplace operators may make changes to their marketplaces that make access to our products more difficult. For example, our applications may receive unfavorable treatment compared to the promotion and placement of competing applications, such as the order in which they appear within marketplaces. Similarly, if problems arise in our relationships with providers of application marketplaces, our user growth could be harmed.
In some instances, search engine companies and application marketplaces may change their displays or rankings in order to promote their own competing products or services or the products or services of one or more of our competitors. For example, Google has integrated its local product offering, Google + Local, with certain of its products, including search. The resulting promotion of Googles own competing products in its web search results has negatively impacted the search ranking of our website. Because Google in particular is the most significant source of traffic to our website, accounting for more than half of the visits to our website from Internet searches during the three months ended March 31, 2015, our success depends on our ability to maintain a prominent presence in search results for queries regarding local businesses on Google. As a result, Googles promotion of its own competing products, or similar actions by Google in the future that have the effect of reducing our prominence or ranking on its search results, could have a substantial negative effect on our business and results of operations.
Consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to access online services. If our mobile platform and mobile advertising products are not compelling, or if we are unable to operate effectively on mobile devices, our business could be adversely affected.
The number of people who access information about local businesses through mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets and handheld computers, has increased dramatically over the past few years and is expected to continue to increase. Although many consumers access our platform both on their mobile devices and through personal computers, we have seen substantial growth in mobile usage. We anticipate that growth in use of our mobile platform will be the driver of our growth for the foreseeable future and that usage through personal computers may continue to decline worldwide. As a result, we must continue to drive adoption of and user engagement on our mobile platform, and our mobile app in particular. If we are unable to drive continued adoption of and engagement on our mobile app, our business may be harmed and we may be unable to decrease our reliance on traffic from Google and other search engines.
In order to attract and retain engaged users of our mobile platform, the mobile products and services we introduce must be compelling. However, the ways in which users engage with our platform and consume content has changed over time, and we expect it will continue to do so as users increasingly engage via mobile. This may make it more difficult to develop mobile products that consumers find useful or provide them with the information they seek, and may also negatively affect our content if users do not continue to contribute high quality content on their mobile devices. In addition, building an engaged base of mobile users may also be complicated by the frequency with which users change or upgrade their mobile services. In the event users choose mobile devices that do not already include or support our mobile app or do not install our mobile app when they change or upgrade their devices, our traffic and user engagement may be harmed.
Our success is also dependent on the interoperability of our mobile products with a range of mobile technologies, systems, networks and standards that we do not control, such as mobile operating systems like Android and iOS. We may not be successful in developing products that operate effectively with these technologies, systems, networks and standards or in creating, maintaining and developing relationships with key participants in the mobile industry, some of which may be our competitors. Any changes that degrade the functionality of our mobile products, give preferential treatment to competitive products or prevent us from delivering advertising could adversely affect mobile usage and monetization. As new mobile devices and platforms are released, it is difficult to predict the problems we may encounter in developing products for these alternative devices and platforms, and we may need to devote significant resources to the creation, support and maintenance of such products. If we experience difficulties in the future integrating our mobile app into mobile devices, or we face increased costs to distribute our mobile app, our user growth and operating results could be harmed.
In addition, if our mobile advertising products prove ineffective, our advertisers may stop or reduce their advertising with us. Although we currently deliver advertising on our mobile app and mobile website, the mobile advertising market remains a new and evolving market; as new devices and platforms are released, users may begin consuming content in a manner that is more difficult to monetize. Given our limited experience in monetizing our mobile products, we may not be able to generate meaningful revenue from our mobile products despite the expected growth in mobile usage. For example, we may be unable to attract new advertisers if our mobile advertising products are not compelling or we fail to continue to innovate and introduce enhanced mobile solutions. Similarly, if we incur excessive expenses in these efforts or our products are insufficiently profitable, our ability to grow revenue would be negatively affected. However, if our mobile solutions alienate our user base, our business may also suffer. Accordingly, we must balance these considerations against our commitment to prioritizing the quality of user experience over short-term monetization, which we may not do effectively.
If our users fail to contribute high quality content or their contributions are not valuable to other users, our traffic and revenue could be negatively affected.
Our success in attracting users depends on our ability to provide consumers with the information they seek, which in turn depends on the quantity and quality of the content contributed by our users. We believe that as the depth and breadth of the content on our platform grow, our platform will become more widely known and relevant to broader audiences, thereby attracting new consumers to our service. However, if we are unable to provide consumers with the information they seek, they may stop or reduce their use of our platform, and traffic to our website and on our mobile app will decline. If our user traffic declines, our advertisers may stop or reduce the amount of advertising on our platform and our business could be harmed. Our ability to provide consumers with valuable content may be harmed:
if our users do not contribute content that is helpful or reliable;
if our users remove content they previously submitted;
as a result of user concerns that they may be harassed or sued by the businesses they review, instances of which have occurred in the past and may occur again in the future; and
as users increasingly contribute content through our mobile platform, because content contributed through mobile devices tends to be shorter than desktop contributions.
Similarly, if our platform does not provide current information about local businesses or users do not perceive reviews on our platform as relevant, our brand and business could be harmed. For example, we do not phase out or remove dated reviews, and consumers may view older reviews as less relevant, helpful or reliable than more recent reviews.
If we fail to maintain and expand our base of advertisers, our revenue and our business will be harmed.
Our ability to grow our business depends on our ability to maintain and expand our advertiser base. To do so, we must convince existing and prospective advertisers alike that our advertising products offer a material benefit and can generate a competitive return relative to other alternatives. Our ability to do so depends on factors including:
Acceptance of Online Advertising. We believe that the continued growth and acceptance of our online advertising products will depend on the perceived effectiveness and the acceptance of online advertising models generally, which is outside of our control. Many advertisers still have limited experience with online advertising and, as a result, may continue to devote significant portions of their advertising budgets to traditional, offline advertising media, such as newspapers or print yellow pages directories.
Competitiveness of Our Products. We must deliver ads in an effective manner and provide accurate analytics and measurement solutions that demonstrate the value of our advertising products compared to those of our competitors. Similarly, if the pricing of our advertising products does not compare favorably to those of our competitors, advertisers may reduce their advertising with us or choose not to advertise with us at all.
Traffic Quality. The success of our advertising program depends on delivering positive results to our advertising customers. Low-quality or invalid traffic, such as robots, spiders and the mechanical automation of clicking, may be detrimental to our relationships with advertisers and could adversely affect our advertising pricing and revenue. If we fail to detect and prevent click fraud or other invalid clicks on ads, the affected advertisers may experience or perceive a reduced return on their investments, which could lead to dissatisfaction with our products, refusals to pay, refund demands or withdrawal of future business.
Perception of Our Platform. Our ability to compete effectively for advertiser budgets depends on our reputation and perceptions regarding our platform. For example, we may face challenges expanding our advertiser base in businesses outside the restaurant and shopping categories if businesses believe that consumers perceive the utility of our platform to be limited to finding businesses in these categories. The ratings and reviews that businesses receive from our users may also affect their advertising decisions. Favorable ratings and reviews, on the one hand, could be perceived as obviating the need to advertise. Unfavorable ratings and reviews, on the other, could discourage businesses from advertising to an audience that they perceive as hostile or cause them to form a negative opinion of our products and user base.
Macroeconomic Conditions. Adverse macroeconomic conditions can have a negative impact on the demand for advertising, particularly with respect to online advertising products. We rely heavily on small and medium-sized businesses, which often have limited advertising budgets and may be disproportionately affected by economic downturns. In addition, such business may view online advertising as lower priority than offline advertising.
As is typical in our industry, our advertisers generally do not have long-term obligations to purchase our products. Their decisions to renew depend on the degree of satisfaction with our products as well as a number of factors that are outside of our control, including their ability to continue their operations and spending levels. Small and medium-sized local businesses in particular have historically experienced high failure rates. As a result, we may experience attrition in our advertisers in the ordinary course of business resulting from several factors, including losses to competitors, declining advertising budgets, closures and bankruptcies. To grow our business, we must continually add new advertisers to replace advertisers who choose not to renew their advertising, or who go out of business or otherwise fail to fulfill their advertising contracts with us, which we may not be able to do.
If we fail to expand our operations effectively, including in international markets where we have limited operating experience and may be subject to increased risks, our revenue and business will be harmed.
We intend to expand our operations into new markets, both domestically and abroad. Our expansion into new markets places us in competitive environments with which we are unfamiliar and involves various challenges, such as expanding our sales force and community management personnel to reach those new markets, and encountering different and potentially lower levels of user engagement or advertiser demand in some or all of these markets. Our current and future expansion plans will require significant resources and management attention, and the returns on such investments may not be achieved for several years, or at all.
Because we have already entered many of the largest markets in the United States and further expansion in smaller markets may not yield similar results, our continued growth depends on our ability to expand effectively in international markets. We have a limited operating history in international markets, which makes it difficult to evaluate our future prospects and may increase the risk that we will not be successful. If the markets we have targeted for international expansion do not develop as we expect, or if we fail to address the needs of those markets, our business will be harmed. Expanding internationally may also subject us to risks that we have not faced before or that increase our exposure to risks that we currently face, including risks associated with:
operating a rapidly growing business in an environment of multiple languages, cultures, customs, legal systems, regulatory systems and commercial infrastructures;
recruiting and retaining qualified, multi-lingual employees, including sales personnel;
increased competition from local websites and guides, and potential preferences by local populations for local providers;
our ability to achieve prominent display of our content in unpaid search results, which may be more difficult in newer markets where we may have less content and more competitors than in more established markets;
providing solutions in different languages for different cultures, which may require that we modify our solutions and features to ensure that they are culturally relevant in different countries;
compliance with applicable foreign laws and regulations, including different privacy, censorship and liability standards;
the enforceability of our intellectual property rights;
credit risk and higher levels of payment fraud;
currency exchange rate fluctuations;
compliance with anti-bribery laws, including but not limited to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the U.K. Bribery Act;
foreign exchange controls that might prevent us from repatriating cash earned outside the United States;
political and economic instability in some countries;
double taxation of our international earnings and potential adverse tax consequences due to changes in the tax laws of the United States or foreign jurisdictions in which we operate; and
higher costs of doing business internationally.
*We may acquire other companies or technologies, which could divert our managements attention, result in additional dilution to our stockholders and otherwise disrupt our operations and harm our operating results. We may also be unable to realize the expected benefits and synergies of any acquisitions.
Our success will depend, in part, on our ability to expand our product offerings and grow our business in response to changing technologies, user and advertiser demands and competitive pressures. In some circumstances, we may determine to do so through the acquisition of complementary businesses or technologies rather than through internal development. For example, in February 2015, we acquired Eat24 to obtain an online food ordering solution. We have limited experience as a company in the complex process of acquiring other businesses and technologies. The pursuit of potential future acquisitions may divert the attention of management and cause us to incur expenses in identifying, investigating and pursuing acquisitions, whether or not they are consummated.
Acquisitions that are consummated could result in dilutive issuances of equity securities or the incurrence of debt, which could adversely affect our results of operations or our ability to maintain profitability. The incurrence of debt in particular could result in increased fixed obligations or include covenants or other restrictions that would impede our ability to manage our operations. In addition, any acquisitions we announce could be viewed negatively by users, businesses or investors. We may also discover liabilities or deficiencies associated with the companies or assets we acquire that we did not identify in advance, which may result in significant unanticipated costs. The effectiveness of our due diligence review and our ability to evaluate the results of such due diligence are dependent upon the accuracy and completeness of statements and disclosures made by the companies we acquire or their representatives, as well as the limited amount of time in which acquisitions are executed. We may also fail to accurately forecast the financial impact of an acquisition transaction, including tax and accounting charges.
In order to realize the expected benefits and synergies of any acquisition that is consummated, we must meet a number of significant challenges that may create unforeseen operating difficulties and expenditures, including:
integrating operations, strategies, services, sites and technologies of the acquired company;
managing the combined business effectively;
retaining and assimilating the employees of the acquired company;
retaining existing customers and strategic partners and minimizing disruption to existing relationships as a result of any integration of new personnel;
difficulties in the assimilation of corporate cultures;
implementing and retaining uniform standards, controls, procedures, policies and information systems; and
addressing risks related to the business of the acquired company that may continue to impact the business following the acquisition.
Any inability to integrate services, sites and technologies, operations or personnel in an efficient and timely manner could harm our results of operations. Transition activities are complex and require significant time and resources, and we may not manage the process successfully, particularly if we are managing multiple integrations concurrently. Our ability to integrate complex acquisitions is unproven, particularly with respect to companies that have significant operations or that develop products with which we do not have prior experience. For example, Eat24 is larger and more complex than previous companies we have acquired. In addition, Eat24 operates a business that is new to us, and we are in the early stages of developing the structures and expertise needed to support this business. We plan to invest resources to support this and any future acquisitions, which will result in ongoing operating expenses and may divert resources and management attention from other areas of our business. We cannot assure you that these investments will be successful. Even if we are able to integrate the operations of any acquired company successfully, these integrations may not result in the realization of the full benefits of synergies, cost savings, innovation and operational efficiencies that may be possible from the combination of the businesses, or we may not achieve these benefits within a reasonable period of time.
*We rely on third-party service providers and strategic partners for many aspects of our business, and any failure to maintain these relationships could harm our business.
We rely on relationships with various third parties to grow our business, including strategic partners and technology and content providers. For example, we rely on third parties for data about local businesses, mapping functionality, payment processing and administrative software solutions. We also rely on partners for various transactions available through the Yelp Platform, including Booker for spa and salon appointments, Locu for menu data and Hipmunk for hotel bookings, among others. Identifying, negotiating and maintaining relationships with third parties require significant time and resources, as does integrating their data, services and technologies onto our platform. It is possible that these third parties may not be able to devote the resources we expect to the relationships. We may also have competing interests and obligations with respect to our partners in particular, which may make it difficult to maintain, grow or maximize the benefit for each partnership. Our focus on integrating additional partners to expand the Yelp Platform may exacerbate this risk.
If our relationships with our partners and providers deteriorate, we could suffer increased costs and delays in our ability to provide consumers and advertisers with content or similar services. We have had, and may in the future have, disagreements or disputes with our partners about our respective contractual obligations, which could result in legal proceedings or negatively affect our brand and reputation. In addition, we exercise limited control over our third-party partners and vendors, which makes us vulnerable to any errors, interruptions or delays in their operations. If these third parties experience any service disruptions, financial distress or other business disruption, or difficulties meeting our requirements or standards, it could make it difficult for us to operate some aspects of our business. Similarly, upon expiration or termination of any of our agreements with third-party providers, we may not be able to replace the services provided to us in a timely manner or on terms that are favorable to us, if at all, and a transition from one partner or provider to another could subject us to operational delays and inefficiencies.
We face competition for both local business directory traffic and advertiser spending, and expect competition to increase in the future.
The market for information regarding local businesses and advertising is intensely competitive and rapidly changing. With the emergence of new technologies and market entrants, competition is likely to intensify in the future. We compete for consumer traffic with traditional, offline local business guides and directories, Internet search engines, such as Google and Bing, review and social media websites and various other online service providers. These competitors may include regional review websites that may have strong positions in particular countries. We also compete with these companies for the content of contributors, and may experience decreases in both traffic and user engagement if our competitors offer more compelling environments.
Although advertisers are allocating an increasing amount of their overall marketing budgets to online advertising, such spending lags behind growth in Internet and mobile usage generally, making the market for online advertising intensely competitive. We compete for a share of local businesses overall advertising budgets with traditional, offline media companies and service providers, as well as Internet marketing providers. Many of these companies have established marketing relationships with local businesses, and certain of our online competitors have substantial proprietary advertising inventory and web traffic that may provide a significant competitive advantage.
Certain competitors could use strong or dominant positions in one or more markets to gain competitive advantage against us in areas in which we operate, including by: integrating review platforms or features into products they control, such as search engines, web browsers or mobile device operating systems; making acquisitions; changing their unpaid search result rankings to promote their own products; refusing to enter into or renew licenses on which we depend; limiting or denying our access to advertising measurement or delivery systems; limiting our ability to target or measure the effectiveness of ads; or making access to our platform more difficult. This risk may be exacerbated by the trend in recent years toward consolidation among online media companies, potentially allowing our larger competitors to offer bundled or integrated products that feature alternatives to our platform.
Our competitors may also enjoy competitive advantages, such as greater name recognition, longer operating histories, substantially greater market share, large existing user bases and substantially greater financial, technical and other resources. Traditional television and print media companies, for example, have large established audiences and more traditional and widely accepted advertising products. These companies may use these advantages to offer products similar to ours at a lower price, develop different products to compete with our current solutions and respond more quickly and effectively than we do to new or changing opportunities, technologies, standards or client requirements. In particular, major Internet companies, such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Microsoft, may be more successful than us in developing and marketing online advertising offerings directly to local businesses, and may leverage their relationships based on other products or services to gain additional share of advertising budgets.
To compete effectively, we must continue to invest significant resources in product development to enhance user experience and engagement, as well as sales and marketing to expand our base of advertisers. However, there can be no assurance that we will be able to compete successfully for users and advertisers against existing or new competitors, and failure to do so could result in loss of existing users, reduced revenue, increased marketing expenses or diminished brand strength, any of which could harm our business.
*Our business depends on a strong brand, and any failure to maintain, protect and enhance our brand would hurt our ability to retain and expand our base of users and advertisers, as well as our ability to increase the frequency with which they use our products.
We have developed a strong brand that we believe has contributed significantly to the success of our business. Maintaining, protecting and enhancing the Yelp brand are critical to expanding our base of users and advertisers and increasing the frequency with which they use our solutions. Our ability to do so will depend largely on our ability to maintain consumer trust in our solutions and in the quality and integrity of the user content and other information found on our platform, which we may not do successfully. We dedicate significant resources to these goals, primarily through our automated recommendation software, sting operations targeting the buying and selling of reviews, our consumer alerts program, coordination with consumer protection agencies and law enforcement, and, in certain egregious cases, taking legal action against business we believe to be engaged in deceptive activities. We also endeavor to remove content from our platform that violates our terms of service.
Despite these efforts, we cannot guarantee that each of the 54.9 million reviews on our platform that have been recommended and that have not been removed as of March 31, 2015 is useful or reliable, or that consumers will trust the integrity of our content. For example, if our recommendation software does not recommend helpful content or recommends unhelpful content, consumers and businesses alike may stop or reduce their use of our platform and products. Some consumers and businesses have alternately expressed concern that our technology either recommends too many reviews, thereby recommending some reviews that may not be legitimate, or too few reviews, thereby not recommending some reviews that may be legitimate. If consumers do not believe our recommended reviews to be useful and reliable, they may seek other services to obtain the information for which they are looking, and may not return to our platform as often in the future, or at all. This would negatively impact our ability to retain and attract users and advertisers and the frequency with which they use our platform.
Consumers may also believe that the reviews, photos and other user content contributed by our Community Managers or other employees are influenced by our advertising relationships or are otherwise biased. Although we take steps to prevent this from occurring by, for example, identifying Community Managers as Yelp employees on their account profile pages and explaining their role on our platform, the designation does not appear on the page for each review contributed by the Community Manager and we may not be successful in our efforts to maintain consumer trust. Similarly, the actions of our partners may affect our brand if users do not have a positive experience on the Yelp Platform. If others misuse our brand or pass themselves off as being endorsed or affiliated with us, it could harm our reputation and our business could suffer. Our website and mobile app also serve as a platform for expression by our users, and third parties or the public at large may also attribute the political or other sentiments expressed by users on our platform to us, which could harm our reputation.
In addition, negative publicity about our company, including our technology, sales practices, personnel, customer service, litigation or political activities could diminish confidence in our brand and the use of our products. Certain media outlets have previously reported allegations that we manipulate our reviews, rankings and ratings in favor of our advertisers and against non-advertisers. In order to demonstrate that our automated recommendation software applies in a nondiscriminatory manner to both advertisers and non-advertisers, we allow users to access reviews that are both recommended and not recommended by our software. We have also allowed businesses to comment publicly on reviews so that they can provide a response. Nevertheless, our reputation and brand, the traffic to our website and mobile app and our business may suffer if negative publicity about our company persists or if users otherwise perceive that our content is manipulated or biased. Allegations and complaints regarding our business practices, and any resulting negative publicity, may also result in increased regulatory scrutiny of our company. In addition to requiring management time and attention, any regulatory inquiry or investigation could itself result in further negative publicity regardless of its merit or outcome.
Maintaining and enhancing our brand may also require us to make substantial investments, and these investments may not be successful. For example, our trademarks are an important element of our brand. We have faced in the past, and may face in the future, oppositions from third parties to our applications to register key trademarks in foreign jurisdictions in which we expect to expand our presence. If we are unsuccessful in defending against these oppositions, our trademark applications may be denied. Whether or not our trademark applications are denied, third parties may claim that our trademarks infringe their rights. As a result, we could be forced to pay significant settlement costs or cease the use of these trademarks and associated elements of our brand in certain jurisdictions. Doing so could harm our brand recognition and adversely affect our business. If we fail to maintain and enhance our brand successfully, or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our business and financial results may be adversely affected.
*If we fail to manage our growth effectively, our brand, results of operations and business could be harmed.
We have experienced rapid growth in our headcount and operations, including through our acquisitions of other businesses, such as SeatMe in 2013 and Eat24 in February 2015, which places substantial demands on management and our operational infrastructure. Most of our employees have been with us for fewer than two years; to manage the expected growth of our operations, we will need to continue to increase the productivity of our current employees and hire, train and manage new employees. In particular, we intend to continue to make substantial investments in our engineering, sales and marketing and community management organizations. As a result, we must effectively integrate, develop and motivate a large number of new employees, including employees in international markets and from any acquired businesses, while maintaining the beneficial aspects of our company culture.
As our business matures, we make periodic changes and adjustments to our organization in response to various internal and external considerations, including market opportunities, the competitive landscape, new and enhanced products, acquisitions, sales performance, increases in headcount and cost levels. In some instances, these changes have resulted in a temporary lack of focus and reduced productivity, which may occur again in connection with any future changes to our organization and may negatively affect our results of operations. Similarly, any significant changes to the way we structure compensation of our sales organization may be disruptive and may affect our ability to generate revenue.
To manage our growth, we may need to improve our operational, financial and management systems and processes, which may require significant capital expenditures and allocation of valuable management and employee resources, as well as subject us to the risk of over-expanding our operating infrastructure. However, if we fail to scale our operations successfully and increase productivity, the quality of our platform and efficiency of our operations could suffer, which could harm our brand, results of operations and business.
We make the consumer experience our highest priority. Our dedication to making decisions based primarily on the best interests of consumers may cause us to forgo short-term gains and advertising revenue.
We base many of our decisions on the best interests of the consumers who use our platform. In the past, we have forgone, and we may in the future forgo, certain expansion or revenue opportunities that we do not believe are in the best interests of consumers, even if such decisions negatively impact our results of operations in the short term. Our approach of putting consumers first may negatively impact our relationship with existing or prospective advertisers. For example, unless we believe that a review violates our terms of service, such as reviews that contain hate speech or bigotry, we will allow the review to remain on our platform, even if the business disputes its accuracy. Certain advertisers may therefore perceive us as an impediment to their success as a result of negative reviews and ratings. This practice could result in a loss of advertisers, which in turn could harm our results of operations. However, we believe that this approach has been essential to our success in attracting users and increasing the frequency with which they use our platform. As a result, we believe this approach has served the long-term interests of our company and our stockholders and will continue to do so in the future.
We rely on the performance of highly skilled personnel, and if we are unable to attract, retain and motivate well-qualified employees, our business could be harmed.
We believe our success has depended, and continues to depend, on the efforts and talents of our employees, including our senior management team, software engineers, marketing professionals and advertising sales staff. The loss of any of our senior management or key employees could materially adversely affect our ability to execute our business plan, and we may not be able to find adequate replacements. All of our officers and other U.S. employees are at-will employees, which means they may terminate their employment relationship with us at any time, and their knowledge of our business and industry would be extremely difficult to replace.
Our future depends on our continuing ability to attract, develop, motivate and retain highly qualified and skilled employees. Qualified individuals are in high demand, and we may incur significant costs to attract them before we can validate their productivity. The significant increase in the price of our Class A common stock since we became a public company in 2012 may make it more difficult or costly in the future to use equity compensation to motivate, incentivize and retain our employees. If we do not succeed in attracting well-qualified employees or retaining and motivating existing employees, our business could be harmed.
Risks Related to Our Technology
Our business is dependent on the uninterrupted and proper operation of our technology and network infrastructure. Any significant disruption in our service could damage our reputation, result in a potential loss of users and engagement and adversely affect our results of operations.
It is important to our success that users in all geographies be able to access our platform at all times. We have previously experienced, and may experience in the future, service disruptions, outages and other performance problems. Such performance problems may be due to a variety of factors, including infrastructure changes, human or software errors and capacity constraints due to an overwhelming number of users accessing our platform simultaneously. Our products and services are highly technical and complex, and may contain errors or vulnerabilities that could result in unanticipated downtime for our platform and harm to our reputation and business. Users may also use our products in unanticipated ways that may cause a disruption in service for other users attempting to access our platform. We may encounter such difficulties more frequently as we acquire companies and incorporate their technologies into our service. It may also become increasingly difficult to maintain and improve the availability of our platform, especially during peak usage times, as our solutions become more complex and our user traffic increases.
In some instances, we may not be able to identify the cause or causes of these performance problems within an acceptable period of time. If our platform is unavailable when users attempt to access it or it does not load as quickly as they expect, users may seek other services to obtain the information for which they are looking, and may not return to our platform as often in the future, or at all. This would negatively impact our ability to attract users and advertisers and increase the frequency with which they user our platform. We expect to continue to make significant investments to maintain and improve the availability of our platform and to enable rapid releases of new features and products. To the extent that we do not effectively address capacity constraints, upgrade our systems as needed and continually develop our technology and network architecture to accommodate actual and anticipated changes in technology, our business and operating results may be harmed.
Our systems are also vulnerable to damage or interruption from catastrophic occurrences such as earthquakes, fires, floods, power losses, telecommunications failures, terrorist attacks and similar events. Our U.S. corporate offices and one of the facilities we lease to house our computer and telecommunications equipment are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, a region known for seismic activity. In addition, acts of terrorism, which may be targeted at metropolitan areas that have higher population densities than rural areas, could cause disruptions in our or our local business advertisers businesses or the economy as a whole. We may not have sufficient protection or recovery plans in certain circumstances, such as natural disasters affecting the San Francisco Bay Area, and our business interruption insurance may be insufficient to compensate us for losses that may occur. Our disaster recovery program contemplates transitioning our platform and data to a backup center in the event of a catastrophe. Although this program is functional, if our primary data center shuts down, there will be a period of time that our services will remain shut down while the transition to the back-up data center takes place. During this time, our platform may be unavailable in whole or in part to our users.
If our security measures are compromised, or if our platform is subject to attacks that degrade or deny the ability of users to access our content, users may curtail or stop use of our platform.
Our platform involves the storage and transmission of user and business information, some of which may be private, and security breaches could expose us to a risk of loss of this information, which could result in potential liability and litigation. Computer viruses, break-ins, malware, phishing attacks, attempts to overload servers with denial-of-service or other attacks and similar disruptions from unauthorized use of computer systems have become more prevalent in our industry, have occurred on our systems in the past and are expected to occur periodically on our systems in the future. We may be a particularly compelling target for such attacks as a result of our brand recognition. User and business owner accounts and profile pages could be hacked, hijacked, altered or otherwise claimed or controlled by unauthorized persons. For example, we enable businesses to create free online accounts and claim the business profile pages for each of their business locations. Although we take steps to confirm that the person setting up the account is affiliated with the business, our verification systems could fail to confirm that such person is an authorized representative of the business, or mistakenly allow an unauthorized person to claim the businesss profile page. In addition, we face risks associated with security breaches affecting our third-party partners and service providers. A security breach at any such third party could be perceived by consumers as a security breach of our systems and result in negative publicity, damage to our reputation and expose us to other losses.
Although none of the disruptions we have experienced to date have had a material effect on our business, any future disruptions could lead to interruptions, delays or website shutdowns, causing loss of critical data or the unauthorized disclosure or use of personally identifiable or other confidential information. Even if we experience no significant shutdown or no critical data is lost, obtained or misused in connection with an attack, the occurrence of such attack or the perception that we are vulnerable to such attacks may harm our reputation, our ability to retain existing users and our ability to attract new users. Although we have developed systems and processes that are designed to protect our data and prevent data loss and other security breaches, the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service or sabotage systems change frequently, often are not recognized until launched against a target and may originate from less regulated and more remote areas around the world. As a result, these preventative measures may not be adequate and we cannot assure you that they will provide absolute security.
Any or all of these issues could negatively impact our ability to attract new users, deter current users from returning to our platform, cause existing or potential advertisers to cancel their contracts or subject us to third-party lawsuits or other liabilities. For example, we work with third-party vendors to process credit card payments by users and businesses, and are subject to payment card association operating rules. If our security measures fail to protect payment information adequately as a result of employee error, malfeasance or otherwise, or we fail to comply with the applicable operating rules, we could be liable to the users and businesses for their losses, as well as the vendors under our agreements with them, and be subject to fines and higher transaction fees. In addition, government authorities could also initiate legal or regulatory actions against us in connection with such incidents, which could cause us to incur significant expense and liability or result in orders or consent decrees forcing us to modify our business practices.
Some of our products contain open source software, which may pose particular risks to our proprietary software and solutions.
We use open source software in our products and will use open source software in the future. From time to time, we may face claims from third parties claiming ownership of, or demanding release of, the open source software or derivative works that we developed using such software (which could include our proprietary source code), or otherwise seeking to enforce the terms of the applicable open source license. These claims could result in litigation and could require us to purchase a costly license or cease offering the implicated solutions unless and until we can re-engineer them to avoid infringement. This re-engineering process could require significant additional research and development resources. In addition to risks related to license requirements, use of certain open source software can lead to greater risks than use of third-party commercial software because open source licensors generally do not provide warranties or controls on the origin of the software. Any of these risks could be difficult to eliminate or manage, and, if not addressed, could have a negative effect on our business and operating results.
Failure to protect or enforce our intellectual property rights could harm our business and results of operations.
We regard the protection of our trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks and domain names as critical to our success. In particular, we must maintain, protect and enhance the Yelp brand. We pursue the registration of our domain names, trademarks and service marks in the United States and in certain jurisdictions abroad. We strive to protect our intellectual property rights by relying on federal, state and common law rights, as well as contractual restrictions. We typically enter into confidentiality and invention assignment agreements with our employees and contractors, as well as confidentiality agreements with parties with whom we conduct business in order to limit access to, and disclosure and use of, our proprietary information. However, these contractual arrangements and the other steps we have taken to protect our intellectual property may not prevent the misappropriation or disclosure of our proprietary information or deter independent development of similar technologies by others.
Effective trade secret, copyright, trademark and domain name protection is expensive to develop and maintain, both in terms of initial and ongoing registration requirements and expenses and the costs of defending our rights. We are seeking to protect our intellectual property, including trademarks and domain names, in an increasing number of jurisdictions, a process that is expensive and may not be successful, but have not done so in every location in which we operate. Litigation may become necessary to enforce our intellectual property rights, protect our respective trade secrets or determine the validity and scope of proprietary rights claimed by others. For example, we may incur significant costs in enforcing our trademarks against those who attempt to imitate our Yelp brand. Any litigation of this nature, regardless of outcome or merit, could result in substantial costs and diversion of management and technical resources, any of which could adversely affect our business and operating results.
We may be unable to continue to use the domain names that we use in our business, or prevent third parties from acquiring and using domain names that infringe on, are similar to, or otherwise decrease the value of our brand or our trademarks or service marks.
We have registered domain names for the websites that we use in our business, such as Yelp.com. If we lose the ability to use a domain name, whether due to trademark claims, failure to renew the applicable registration or any other cause, we may be forced to market our products under a new domain name, which could cause us substantial harm or cause us to incur significant expense in order to purchase rights to the domain name in question. In addition, our competitors and others could attempt to capitalize on our brand recognition by using domain names similar to ours. Domain names similar to ours have been registered by others in the United States and elsewhere. We may be unable to prevent third parties from acquiring and using domain names that infringe on, are similar to or otherwise decrease the value of our brand or our trademarks or service marks. Protecting and enforcing our rights in our domain names may require litigation, which could result in substantial costs and diversion of managements attention.
Risks Related to Our Financial Statements and Tax Structure
We have a limited operating history in an evolving industry, which makes it difficult to evaluate our future prospects and may increase the risk that we will not be successful.
We have a limited operating history in an evolving industry that may not develop as expected, if at all. As a result, our historical operating results may not be indicative of our future operating results, making it difficult to assess our future prospects. You should consider our business and prospects in light of the risks and difficulties we may encounter in this rapidly evolving industry, which we may not be able to address successfully. These risks and difficulties include our ability to, among other things:
|●||increase the number of users of our website and mobile app and the number of reviews and other content on our platform;|
|●||attract and retain new advertising clients, many of which may have limited or no online advertising experience;|
|●||forecast revenue and adjusted EBITDA accurately, which may be more difficult as we sell more performance-based advertising, as well as appropriately estimate and plan our expenses;|
|●||continue to earn and preserve a reputation for providing meaningful and reliable reviews of local businesses;|
|●||effectively monetize our mobile products as usage continues to migrate toward mobile devices;|
|●||successfully compete with existing and future providers of other forms of offline and online advertising;|
|●||successfully compete with other companies that are currently in, or may in the future enter, the business of providing information regarding local businesses;|
|●||expand successfully in existing markets, enter new markets and manage our international expansion;|
|●||successfully develop and deploy new features and products;|
|●||manage and integrate successfully any acquisitions of businesses, solutions or technologies, such as Eat24;|
|●||avoid interruptions or disruptions in our service or slower than expected load times;|
|●||develop a scalable, high-performance technology infrastructure that can efficiently and reliably handle increased usage globally, as well as the deployment of new features and products;|
|●||hire, integrate and retain talented sales and other personnel;|
|●||effectively manage rapid growth in our sales force, other personnel and operations; and|
|●||effectively identify, engage and manage third-party partners and service providers.|
If the demand for information regarding local businesses does not develop as we expect, or if we fail to address the needs of this demand, our business will be harmed. We may not be able to address successfully these risks and difficulties or others, including those described elsewhere in these risk factors. Failure to address these risks and difficulties adequately could harm our business and cause our operating results to suffer.
We expect a number of factors to cause our operating results to fluctuate on a quarterly and annual basis, which may make it difficult to predict our future performance.
Our operating results could vary significantly from period to period as a result of a variety of factors, many of which may be outside of our control. This volatility increases the difficulty in predicting our future performance and means comparing our operating results on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful. In addition to the other risk factors discussed in this section, factors that may contribute to the volatility of our operating results include:
|●||changes in our pricing policies and terms of contracts, whether initiated by us or as a result of competition;|
|●||cyclicality and seasonality, which may become more pronounced as our growth rate slows;|
|●||the effects of changes in search engine placement and prominence;|
|●||the adoption of any laws or regulations that adversely affect the growth, popularity or use of the Internet, such as laws impacting Internet neutrality;|
|●||the success of our sales and marketing efforts;|
|●||costs associated with defending intellectual property infringement and other claims and related judgments or settlements;|
|●||interruptions in service and any related impact on our reputation;|
|●||the impact of fluctuations in currency exchange rates;|
|●||changes in advertiser budgets or the market acceptance of online advertising solutions;|
|●||changes in consumer behavior with respect to local businesses;|
|●||changes in our tax rates or exposure to additional tax liabilities;|
|●||the impact of worldwide economic conditions, including the resulting effect on consumer spending at local businesses and the level of advertising spending by local businesses; and|
|●||the effects of natural or man-made catastrophic events.|
*We have incurred significant operating losses in the past, and we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to maintain profitability. Our recent growth rate will likely not be sustainable, and a failure to maintain an adequate growth rate will adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Since our inception, we have incurred significant operating losses and, as of March 31, 2015, we had an accumulated deficit of approximately $35.3 million. Although our revenues have grown rapidly in the last several years, increasing from $12.1 million in 2008 to $377.5 million in 2014, we expect that our revenue growth rate will decline as a result of a variety of factors, including the maturation of our business and the gradual decline in the number of major geographic markets, especially within the United States, to which we have not already expanded. As a result, you should not rely on the revenue growth of any prior quarterly or annual period, or the net income we realized in 2014, as an indication of our future performance. In addition, historically, our costs have increased each year and we expect our costs to increase in future periods as we continue to expend substantial financial resources on:
|●||sales and marketing;|
|●||domestic and international expansion efforts;|
|●||product and feature development;|
|●||our technology infrastructure;|
|●||strategic opportunities, including commercial relationships and acquisitions; and|
|●||general administration, including legal and accounting expenses related to being a public company.|
These investments may not result in increased revenue or growth in our business. Our costs may also increase as we hire additional employees, particularly as a result of the significant competition that we face to attract and retain technical talent. Our expenses may grow faster than our revenue and may be greater than we anticipate in a particular period or over time. If we are unable to maintain adequate revenue growth and to manage our expenses, we may continue to incur significant losses in the future and may not be able to maintain profitability.
Because we recognize most of the revenue from our advertising products over the term of an agreement, a significant downturn in our business may not be immediately reflected in our results of operations.
We recognize revenue from sales of our advertising products over the terms of the applicable agreements, which are generally three, six or 12 months. As a result, a significant portion of the revenue we report in each quarter is generated from agreements entered into during previous quarters. Consequently, a decline in new or renewed agreements in any one quarter may not significantly impact our revenue in that quarter but will negatively affect our revenue in future quarters. In addition, we may be unable to adjust our fixed costs in response to reduced revenue. Accordingly, the effect of significant declines in advertising sales may not be reflected in our short-term results of operations.
If our goodwill or intangible assets become impaired, we may be required to record a significant charge to earnings.
We have recorded a significant amount of goodwill related to our acquisitions to date, and a significant portion of the purchase price of any companies we acquire in the future may be allocated to acquired goodwill and other intangible assets. Under GAAP, we review our intangible assets for impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value of our goodwill and other intangible assets may not be recoverable. Goodwill is required to be tested for impairment at least annually. Factors that may be considered include declines in our stock price, market capitalization and future cash flow projections. If our acquisitions do not yield expected returns, our stock price declines or any other adverse change in market conditions occurs, a change to the estimation of fair value could result. Any such change could result in an impairment charge to our goodwill and intangible assets, particularly if such change impacts any of our critical assumptions or estimates, and may have a negative impact on our financial position and operating results.
We may require additional capital to support business growth, and such capital might not be available on acceptable terms, if at all.
We intend to continue to invest in our business and may require or otherwise seek additional funds to respond to business challenges, including the need to develop new features and products, enhance our existing services, improve our operating infrastructure and acquire complementary businesses and technologies. As a result, we may need to engage in equity or debt financings to secure additional funds. If we raise additional funds through future issuances of equity or convertible debt securities, our existing stockholders could suffer significant dilution, and any new equity securities we issue could have rights, preferences and privileges superior to those of our Class A common stock. Any future debt financing we secure could involve restrictive covenants relating to our capital raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which may make it more difficult for us to obtain additional capital and to pursue business opportunities, including potential acquisitions. We may not be able to obtain additional financing on terms favorable to us, if at all. If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us when we require it, our ability to continue to support our business growth and respond to business challenges could be significantly impaired, and our business may be harmed.
The intended tax benefits of our corporate structure and intercompany arrangements depend on the application of the tax laws of various jurisdictions and on how we operate our business.
Our corporate structure and intercompany arrangements, including the manner in which we develop and use our intellectual property and the transfer pricing of intercompany transactions, are intended to reduce our worldwide effective tax rate. For example, our corporate structure includes legal entities located in jurisdictions with income tax rates lower than the U.S. statutory tax rate. Our intercompany arrangements allocate income to such entities in accordance with arms-length principles and commensurate with functions performed, risks assumed and ownership of valuable corporate assets. We believe that income taxed in certain foreign jurisdictions at a lower rate relative to the U.S. statutory rate will have a beneficial impact on our worldwide effective tax rate.
However, significant judgment is required in evaluating our tax positions and determining our provision for income taxes. During the ordinary course of business, there are many transactions and calculations for which the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. For example, our effective tax rates could be adversely affected by earnings being lower than anticipated in countries where we have lower statutory rates and higher than anticipated in countries where we have higher statutory rates, by changes in foreign currency exchange rates or by changes in the relevant tax, accounting and other laws, regulations, principles and interpretations.
In addition, the application of the tax laws of various jurisdictions, including the United States, to our international business activities is subject to interpretation and depends on our ability to operate our business in a manner consistent with our corporate structure and intercompany arrangements. The taxing authorities of jurisdictions in which we operate may challenge our methodologies for valuing developed technology or intercompany arrangements, including our transfer pricing, or determine that the manner in which we operate our business does not achieve the intended tax consequences, which could increase our worldwide effective tax rate and harm our financial position and results of operations. As we operate in numerous taxing jurisdictions, the application of tax laws can also be subject to diverging and sometimes conflicting interpretations by tax authorities of these jurisdictions. It is not uncommon for taxing authorities in different countries to have conflicting views, for instance, with respect to, among other things, the manner in which the arms-length standard is applied for transfer pricing purposes, or with respect to the valuation of intellectual property.
Changes in tax laws or tax rulings could materially affect our financial position and results of operations.
Tax laws are dynamic and subject to change as new laws are passed and new interpretations of the law are issued or applied. Our existing corporate structure and intercompany arrangements have been implemented in a manner we believe is in compliance with current prevailing tax laws. However, the tax benefits that we intend to eventually derive could be undermined due to changing tax laws. In particular, the current U.S. administration and key members of Congress have made public statements indicating that tax reform is a priority, resulting in uncertainty not only with respect to the future corporate tax rate, but also the U.S. tax consequences of income derived from income related to intellectual property earned overseas in low tax jurisdictions. Certain changes to U.S. tax laws, including limitations on the ability to defer U.S. taxation on earnings outside of the United States until those earnings are repatriated to the United States, as well as changes to U.S. tax laws that may be enacted in the future, could affect the tax treatment of our foreign earnings. In addition, many countries in the European Union, as well as a number of other countries and organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, are actively considering changes to existing tax laws that, if enacted, could increase our tax obligations in many countries where we do business. Due to the expanding scale of our international business activities, any changes in the taxation of such activities may increase our worldwide effective tax rate and harm our financial position and results of operations.
*Our business and results of operations may be harmed if we are deemed responsible for the collection and remittance of state sales taxes for Eat24's restaurants.
If we are deemed an agent for the restaurants in our Eat24 network under state tax law, we may be deemed responsible for collecting and remitting sales taxes directly to certain states. It is possible that one or more states could seek to impose sales, use or other tax collection obligations on us with regard to such food sales. These taxes may be applicable to past sales. A successful assertion that we should be collecting additional sales, use or other taxes or remitting such taxes directly to states could result in substantial tax liabilities for past sales and additional administrative expenses, which would harm our business and results of operations. In addition, we rely on the restaurants in our Eat24 network to provide us with the correct sales tax rates for each individual order. If such information proves incorrect, we may be liable for the under or over collection of sales tax from Eat24 customers.
*We rely on data from third parties to calculate certain of our key metrics. Real or perceived inaccuracies in such metrics may harm our reputation and negatively affect our business.
Certain of our key metrics the number of our unique visitors and mobile unique visitors are calculated relying on data from third parties. While these numbers are based on what we believe to be reasonable calculations for the applicable periods of measurement, our third-party providers periodically encounter difficulties in providing accurate data for such metrics as a result of a variety of factors, including human and software errors. We expect these challenges to continue to occur, and potentially to increase as our traffic grows. In addition, there are inherent challenges in measuring usage across our large user base around the world. For example, because these metrics are based on users with unique cookies, an individual who accesses our website from multiple devices with different cookies may be counted as multiple unique visitors, and multiple individuals who access our website from a shared device with a single cookie may be counted as a single unique visitor. As a result, the calculations of our unique visitors and mobile unique visitors may not accurately reflect the number of people actually using our platform. In addition, our measures of traffic and other key metrics may differ from estimates published by third parties (other than those whose data we use to calculate our key metrics) or from similar metrics of our competitors. We are continually seeking to improve our ability to measure these key metrics, and regularly review our processes to assess potential improvements to their accuracy. If our users, advertisers, partners and stockholders do not perceive our metrics to be accurate representations, or if we discover material inaccuracies in our metrics, our reputation may be harmed.
Risks Related to Regulatory Compliance and Legal Matters
We are, and may be in the future, subject to disputes and assertions by third parties that we violate their rights. These disputes may be costly to defend and could harm our business and operating results.
We currently face, and we expect to face from time to time in the future, allegations that we have violated the rights of third parties, including patent, trademark, copyright and other intellectual property rights, and the rights of current and former employees, users and business owners. For example, various businesses have sued us alleging that we manipulate Yelp reviews in order to coerce them and other businesses to pay for Yelp advertising. The nature of our business also exposes us to claims relating to the information that we publish on our platform, including claims for defamation, libel, negligence and copyright or trademark infringement, among others. Businesses have in the past claimed, and may in the future claim, that we are responsible for the defamatory reviews posted by our users. We expect claims like these to continue, and potentially increase in proportion to the amount of content on our platform. In some instances, we may elect or be compelled to remove the content that is the subject of such claims, or may be forced to pay substantial damages if we are unsuccessful in our efforts to defend against these claims. If we elect or are compelled to remove content from our platform, our products and services may become less useful to consumers and our traffic may decline, which would have a negative impact on our business.
We are also regularly exposed to claims based on allegations of infringement or other violations of intellectual property rights. Companies in the Internet, technology and media industries own large numbers of patent and other intellectual property rights, and frequently enter into litigation. Various non-practicing entities that own patents and other intellectual property rights also often aggressively attempt to assert their rights in order to extract value from technology companies. From time to time, we receive notice letters from patent holders alleging that certain of our products and services infringe their patent rights, and we are presently involved in numerous patent lawsuits. Each of our ongoing patent lawsuits involves plaintiffs targeting multiple defendants in the same or similar suits. We do not own any patents, and may be unable to deter competitors or others from pursuing intellectual property infringement claims against us.
We expect other claims to be made against us in the future, and as we face increasing competition and gain an increasingly high profile, we expect the number of claims against us to accelerate. The results of litigation and claims to which we may be subject cannot be predicted with any certainty. Even if the claims are without merit, the costs associated with defending against them may be substantial in terms of time, money and management distraction. In particular, patent and other intellectual property litigation may be protracted and expensive, and the results may require us to stop offering certain features, purchase licenses or modify our products and features while we develop non-infringing substitutes, or otherwise involve significant settlement costs. The development of alternative non-infringing technology or practices could require significant effort and expense or may not be feasible. Even if claims do not result in litigation or are resolved in our favor without significant cash settlements, such matters, and the time and resources necessary to resolve them, could harm our business, results of operations and reputation.
*Our business is subject to complex and evolving U.S. and foreign regulations and other legal obligations related to privacy, data protection and other matters. Our actual or perceived failure to comply with such regulations and obligations could harm our business.
We are subject to a variety of laws in the United States and abroad that involve matters central to our business, including laws regarding privacy, data retention, distribution of user-generated content and consumer protection, among others. For example, because we receive, store and process personal information and other user data, including credit card information, we are subject to numerous federal, state and local laws around the world regarding privacy and the storing, sharing, use, processing, disclosure and protection of personal information and other user data. We are also subject to a variety of laws, regulations and guidelines that regulate the way we distinguish paid search results and other types of advertising from unpaid search results.
The application and interpretation of these laws and regulations are often uncertain, particularly in the new and rapidly evolving industry in which we operate. For example, we rely on laws limiting the liability of providers of online services for activities of their users and other third parties. These laws are currently being tested by a number of claims, including actions based on invasion of privacy and other torts, unfair competition, copyright and trademark infringement and other theories based on the nature and content of the materials searched, the ads posted or the content provided by users. It is difficult to predict how existing laws will be applied to our business, and if our business grows and evolves and our solutions are used in a greater number of countries, we will also become subject to laws and regulations in additional jurisdictions, which may be inconsistent with the laws of the jurisdictions to which we are currently subject. For example, the risk related to liability for third-party actions may be greater in certain jurisdictions outside the United States where our protection from such liability may be unclear.
It is also possible that the interpretation and application of various laws and regulations may conflict with other rules or our practices, such as industry standards to which we adhere, our privacy policies and our privacy-related obligations to third parties (including, in certain instances, voluntary third-party certification bodies). Similarly, our business could be adversely affected if new legislation or regulations are adopted that require us to change our current practices or the design of our platform, products or features. For example, regulatory frameworks for privacy issues are currently in flux worldwide, and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future due to increased public scrutiny of the practices of companies offering online services with respect to personal information of their users. The U.S. government, including the White House, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Commerce and many state governments are reviewing the need for greater regulation of the collection, processing, storage and use of information about consumer behavior on the Internet, including regulation aimed at restricting certain targeted advertising practices. The European Commission is also in the process of promulgating a new general data protection regulation, which may result in significantly greater compliance burdens for companies such as us with users and operations in Europe. Changes like these could increase our administrative costs and make it more difficult for consumers to use our platform, resulting in less traffic and revenue. Such changes could also make it more difficult for us to provide effective advertising tools to businesses on our platform, resulting in fewer advertisers and less revenue.
We believe that our policies and practices comply with applicable laws and regulations. However, if our belief proves incorrect, if these guidelines, laws or regulations or their interpretations change or new legislation or regulations are enacted, or if the third parties with whom we share user information fail to comply with such guidelines, laws, regulations or their contractual obligations to us, we may be forced to implement new measures to reduce our legal exposure. This may require us to expend substantial resources, delay development of new products or discontinue certain products or features, which would negatively impact our business. For example, if we fail to comply with our privacy-related obligations to users or third parties, or any compromise of security that results in the unauthorized release or transfer of personally identifiable information or other user data, we may be compelled to provide additional disclosures to our users, obtain additional consents from our users before collecting or using their information or implement new safeguards to help our users manage our use of their information, among other changes. We may also face litigation, governmental enforcement actions or negative publicity, which could cause our users and advertisers to lose trust in us and have an adverse effect on our business. For example, from time to time we receive inquiries from government agencies regarding our business practices. Although the internal resources expended and expenses incurred in connection with such inquiries and their resolutions have not been material to date, any resulting negative publicity could adversely affect our reputation and brand. Responding to and resolving any future litigation, investigations, settlements or other regulatory actions may require significant time and resources, and could diminish confidence in and the use of our products.
Domestic and foreign laws may be interpreted and enforced in ways that impose new obligations on us with respect to Yelp Deals, which may harm our business and results of operations.
Our Yelp Deals products may be deemed gift certificates, store gift cards, general-use prepaid cards or other vouchers, or gift cards, subject to, among other laws, the federal Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (the Credit CARD Act) and similar state and foreign laws. Many of these laws include specific disclosure requirements and prohibitions or limitations on the use of expiration dates and the imposition of certain fees. Various companies that provide deal products similar to ours have been subject to allegations that their deal products are subject to and violate the Credit CARD Act and various state laws governing gift cards. Lawsuits have also been filed in other locations in which we sell or plan to sell our Yelp Deals, such as the Canadian province of Ontario, alleging similar violations of provincial legislation governing gift cards.
The application of various other laws and regulations to our products, and particularly our Yelp Deals and Gift Certificates, is uncertain. These include laws and regulations pertaining to unclaimed and abandoned property, partial redemption, refunds, revenue-sharing restrictions on certain trade groups and professions, sales and other local taxes and the sale of alcoholic beverages. In addition, we may become, or be determined to be, subject to federal, state or foreign laws regulating money transmitters or aimed at preventing money laundering or terrorist financing, including the Bank Secrecy Act, the USA PATRIOT Act and other similar future laws or regulations.
If we become subject to claims or are required to alter our business practices as a result of current or future laws and regulations, our revenue could decrease, our costs could increase and our business could otherwise be harmed. In addition, the costs and expenses associated with defending any actions related to such additional laws and regulations and any payments of related penalties, fines, judgments or settlements could harm our business.
The requirements of being a public company may strain our resources, divert managements attention and affect our ability to attract and retain qualified board members.
As a public company, we are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, the listing requirements of the New York Stock Exchange and other applicable securities rules and regulations. Compliance with these rules and regulations has increased, and will likely continue to increase, our legal and financial compliance costs, make some activities more difficult, time-consuming or costly, and place significant strain on our personnel, systems and resources. In addition, changing laws, regulations and standards relating to corporate governance and public disclosure are creating uncertainty for public companies, increasing legal and financial compliance costs and making some activities more time consuming. These laws, regulations and standards are subject to varying interpretations, in many cases due to their lack of specificity, and, as a result, their application in practice may evolve over time. This could result in continuing uncertainty regarding compliance matters, higher administrative expenses and a diversion of managements time and attention. Further, if our compliance efforts differ from the activities intended by regulatory or governing bodies due to ambiguities related to practice, regulatory authorities may initiate legal proceedings against us and our business may be harmed. Being a public company that is subject to these rules and regulations also makes it more expensive for us to obtain and retain director and officer liability insurance, and we may in the future be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain or retain adequate coverage. These factors could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified members of our board of directors and qualified executive officers.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Class A Common Stock
*The dual class structure of our common stock has the effect of concentrating voting control with those stockholders who held our stock prior to our initial public offering, including our founders, directors, executive officers and employees and their affiliates, and limiting our other stockholders ability to influence corporate matters.
Our Class B common stock has 10 votes per share and our Class A common stock has one vote per share. As a result, the holders of our Class B common stock collectively will continue to control a majority of the combined voting power of our common stock even when the shares of Class B common stock represent a small minority of all outstanding shares of our capital stock. The current holders of our Class B common stock collectively are able to control all matters submitted to our stockholders for approval even though their stock holdings represent less than 50% of the outstanding shares of our common stock. As of March 31, 2015, stockholders who held shares of Class B common stock, including our founders, directors, executive officers, employees and their affiliates, together beneficially owned shares representing approximately 60% of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock. Future transfers by holders of Class B common stock will generally result in those shares converting to Class A common stock, which will have the effect, over time, of increasing the relative voting power of those holders of Class B common stock who retain their shares, which may include existing founders, officers, directors and their affiliates. This concentrated control will limit our other stockholders ability to influence corporate matters for the foreseeable future and, as a result, the market price of our Class A common stock could be adversely affected.
*Our share price has been and will likely continue to be volatile.
The trading price of our Class A common stock has been, and is likely to continue to be, highly volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control. Between January 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015, our Class A common stocks daily closing price ranged from $42.17 to $98.04. In addition to the factors discussed in this Risk Factors section and elsewhere in this Quarterly Report, factors that may cause volatility in our share price include:
actual or anticipated fluctuations in our financial condition and operating results;
changes in projected operating and financial results;
actual or anticipated changes in our growth rate relative to our competitors;
announcements of technological innovations or new offerings by us or our competitors;
announcements by us or our competitors of significant acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital-raising activities or commitments;
additions or departures of key personnel;
actions of securities analysts who cover our company, such as publishing research or forecasts about our business (and our performance against such forecasts), changing in the rating of our Class A common stock or ceasing coverage of our company;
investor sentiment with respect to our competitors, business partners and industry in general;
reporting on our business by the financial media, including television, radio and press reports and blogs;
fluctuations in the value of companies perceived by investors to be comparable to us;
changes in the way we measure our key metrics;
sales of our Class A or Class B common stock;
changes in laws or regulations applicable to our solutions;
share price and volume fluctuations attributable to inconsistent trading volume levels of our shares; and
general economic and market conditions such as recessions, interest rate changes or international currency fluctuations.
Furthermore, the stock markets have recently experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have affected and continue to affect the market prices of equity securities of many companies. These fluctuations often have been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies. In the past, companies that have experienced volatility in the market price of their stock have been subject to securities class action litigation. For example, in August 2014, we and certain of our officers were sued in two similar putative class action lawsuits alleging violations of the federal securities laws for allegedly making materially false and misleading statements. We may be the target of additional litigation of this type in the future as well. Securities litigation against us could result in substantial costs and divert our managements time and attention from other business concerns, which could harm our business.
We do not intend to pay dividends for the foreseeable future, and as a result, our stockholders ability to achieve a return on their investment will depend on appreciation in the price of our Class A common stock.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock and do not intend to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. We anticipate that we will retain all of our future earnings for use in the development of our business and for general corporate purposes. Any determination to pay dividends in the future will be at the discretion of our board of directors. Accordingly, investors must rely on sales of their Class A common stock after price appreciation, which may never occur, as the only way to realize future gains on their investments.
Anti-takeover provisions in our charter documents and under Delaware law could make an acquisition of us more difficult, limit attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management and limit the market price of our Class A common stock.
Provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control or changes in our management. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws include provisions that:
authorize our board of directors to issue, without further action by the stockholders, up to 10,000,000 shares of undesignated preferred stock;
require that any action to be taken by our stockholders be effected at a duly called annual or special meeting and not by written consent;
specify that special meetings of our stockholders can be called only by our board of directors, the Chair of our board of directors or our Chief Executive Officer;
establish an advance notice procedure for stockholder proposals to be brought before an annual meeting, including proposed nominations of persons for election to our board of directors;
establish that our board of directors is divided into three classes, with directors in each class serving three-year staggered terms;
prohibit cumulative voting in the election of directors;
provide that vacancies on our board of directors may be filled only by a majority of directors then in office, even though less than a quorum;
require the approval of our board of directors or the holders of a supermajority of our outstanding shares of capital stock to amend our bylaws and certain provisions of our certificate of incorporation; and
reflect two classes of common stock, as discussed above.
These provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace members of our board of directors, which is responsible for appointment the members of our management. In addition, because we are incorporated in Delaware, we are governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which generally prohibits a Delaware corporation from engaging in any of a broad range of business combinations with any interested stockholder for a period of three years following the date on which the stockholder became an interested stockholder.
*Future sales of our Class A common stock in the public market could cause our share price to decline.
Sales of a substantial number of shares of our Class A common stock in the public market, particularly sales by our directors, officers, employees and significant stockholders, or the perception that these sales might occur, could depress the market price of our Class A common stock and could impair our ability to raise capital through the sale of additional equity securities. As of March 31, 2015, we had 65,050,726 shares of Class A common stock and 9,600,608 shares of Class B common stock outstanding. Although a public market exists for our Class A common stock only, shares of our Class B common stock are generally convertible into an equivalent number of shares of Class A common stock at the option of the holder or upon transfer (subject to certain exceptions).
ITEM 2. UNREGISTERED SALES OF EQUITY SECURITIES AND USE OF PROCEEDS
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
The table below provides information with respect to repurchases of shares of our Class B common stock. No shares of our Class A common stock were repurchased during this period.
|Total Number of|
|Purchased as||Number of|
|Total||Weighted||Part of Publicly||Shares that May|
|Number of||Average||Announced||Yet Be Purchased|
|Shares||Price Paid||Plans or||Under the Plans|
|Period||Purchased(1)||per Share||Programs||or Programs|
|January 1 January 31, 2015|||||||||
|February 1 February 28, 2015||5,851||$||47.79|||||
|March 1 March 31, 2015|||||||||
|(1)||Represents shares withheld to satisfy tax withholding obligations in connection with the vesting of employee restricted stock awards under our 2012 Equity Incentive Plan, as amended.|
ITEM 3. DEFAULTS UPON SENIOR SECURITIES
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
ITEM 5. OTHER INFORMATION
ITEM 6. EXHIBITS
A list of exhibits filed with this report or incorporated herein by reference is found in the Exhibit Index immediately following the signature page of this report and is incorporated into this Item 6 by reference.
Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned thereunto duly authorized.
|Date: May 1, 2015||/s/ Rob Krolik|
|Chief Financial Officer|
|(Principal Financial and Accounting Officer and Duly Authorized Signatory)|
|Incorporated by Reference||Herewith|
|Exhibit Description||Form||File No.||Exhibit||Filing Date|
|2.1||Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated February 9, 2015, by and among Yelp Inc., Eat24Hours.com, Inc., Kale Acquisition Corp., Quinoa Acquisition LLC, the Stockholders of Eat24Hours.com, Inc., and Nadav Sharon, as Stockholders Agent.||8-K||001-35444||99.1||2/10/2015|
|3.1||Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation of Yelp Inc.||8-K||001-35444||3.1||3/9/2012|
|3.2||Amended and Restated Bylaws of Yelp Inc.||S-1/A||333-178030||3.4||2/3/2012|
|4.1||Reference is made to Exhibits 3.1 and 3.2.|
|4.2||Form of Class A Common Stock Certificate.||S-1/A||333-178030||4.1||2/3/2012|
|4.3||Form of Class B Common Stock Certificate.||S-1/A||333-178030||4.2||2/3/2012|
|31.1||Certification pursuant to Rule 13a-14(a)/15d-14(a).||X|
|31.2||Certification pursuant to Rule 13a-14(a)/15d-14(a).||X|
|32.1||Certifications of Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer.||X|
|101.INS||XBRL Instance Document.||X|
|101.SCH||XBRL Taxonomy Extension Schema Document.||X|
|101.CAL||XBRL Taxonomy Extension Calculation Linkbase Document.||X|
|101.DEF||XBRL Taxonomy Extension Definition Linkbase Document.||X|
|101.LAB||XBRL Taxonomy Extension Labels Linkbase Document.||X|
|101.PRE||XBRL Taxonomy Extension Presentation Linkbase Document.||X|
The certifications attached as Exhibit 32.1 accompany this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, are not deemed filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and are not to be incorporated by reference into any filing of Yelp Inc. under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, whether made before or after the date of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, irrespective of any general incorporation language contained in such filing.