Yelp is looking into a sale, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The Journal estimates a deal for the reviews platform would likely be more than $3.5 billion; the company’s market capitalization is around $2.9 billion. Citing people with knowledge of the matter, the Journal‘s report indicates Yelp has been in talks with investment bankers and prospective buyers–though a deal isn’t yet on the table, and also “it’s possible Yelp will decide against a sale.”
This isn’t the first time the company has been courted: Back in 2009, Yelp turned down an acquisition offer from Google reportedly in the range of $500 million. CEO Jeremy Stoppelman explained the rationale behind the move to the Associated Press last year:
“It was an emotional decision. Yelp is my baby, so I wanted it to be in a place where it was going to thrive. As it became more of an auction process where it felt like there was blood in the water and the sharks were attacking, it just felt like it wasn’t going to end up with Yelp in a good spot.”
Turns out even Steve Jobs had a hand in swaying Stoppelman away from Google: “He felt that Yelp was a great company and wouldn’t be a great company if it fell in the hands of Google.”
The report follows news last month that Yelp rival Foursquare was in negotiations with Yahoo for a sale priced around $900 million. The rumors fizzled when sources close to both companies denied the claims, but it served as a sign that tech giants are still interested in access to detailed consumer data.
In the hours following the Yelp news, the company’s stock briefly jumped a whopping 25%, though it continues to fluctuate.