Yelp Inc (YELP) Q1 Earnings Preview

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Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) is set to its fiscal first quarter results on Wednesday, April 30 after the market close. Expectations are high from the San Francisco-based company. Analysts polled by FactSet expect the company to report $75 million in revenues and $9.4 million in EBITDA with 12.4% profit margin. That’s slightly above the company’s own guidance of $73.5-$74.5 million in revenues and $8-$9 million in earnings.

Yelp’s local ad revenue estimated to grow 69%

Cantor Fitzgerald analysts Youssef Squali, Naved Khan and Kip Paulson said that they expect the company’s first quarter revenues to soar 64.7% YoY to $76 million. The research firm expects Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) to report $9.4 million in profits, in line with the consensus. Cantor Fitzgerald has a Buy rating on the stock with $84 price target.

Squali noted that he expects the company’s local ad revenue to grow 69% during the quarter to $65.9 million. The number of active local businesses are expected to increase by 5,500 to 73,000 during the period. The average revenue per local business account it expected to tick up 1% QoQ to $940. Meanwhile, branded ad revenue is expected to jump 39% to $6.7 million. Analysts believe that local online advertising market has significant opportunity. But there are only a few players with brand, the network effect, strong execution and scale, positioning Yelp as the key beneficiary in the long run.

Mobile monetization key to Yelp’s growth story

Cantor Fitzgerald said mobile monetization will be important to Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP)’s growth story. During the fourth quarter of 2013, 47% of local ads were shown on mobile devices, up from 40% in Q2, 2013. Analysts expect the mobile contribution to pick up further in the first quarter. Yelp doesn’t break out mobile revenues because its platform is indifferent when selling ads. In February, the company partnered with Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) to improve search.

Cantor Fitzgerald says that Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) isn’t cheap at 11.5x EV/revenue using 2014 estimates. But analysts remain positive on the stock due to its strong growth rate and margin potential.

Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) shares surged 3.38% to $57.43 at 11:46 AM EDT on Tuesday.

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