Yelp says 'we maintain an ongoing dialogue with all of our shareholders'
Yelp issued the following statement in response to media coverage of comments made by SQN Investors LP: "While we generally do not comment on individual interactions with shareholders as a matter of corporate policy, Yelp maintains an ongoing dialogue with all of our shareholders and the broader investment community. Our investors have been a long-standing source of support, feedback and insight for Yelp. We value their investments and confidence and we welcome their input. Over the past three years, Yelp has had many interactions with SQN regarding our business and strategy. At SQN's request, in addition to dialogue with independent directors and management, Yelp invited SQN founder Amish Mehta and his investing partner Rock Meng to participate in a meeting on Monday December 10, 2018 with our CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and CFO Lanny Baker. However, rather than agreeing to meet, SQN chose to make its approach public by providing a letter to the media before sharing it with the Yelp Board. Regardless, our Board and management team are committed to maintaining an open dialogue with SQN and hearing their perspectives. We look forward to reviewing their letter once SQN sends it to us. Our Board of Directors and management team are committed to acting in the best interests of our shareholders, customers and employees. Led by our independent chairwoman and other independent directors, our Board is active, open-minded and engaged and consists of established industry leaders with a wide range of skill sets relevant to Yelp. The Board also continues to review its own composition and practices in order to ensure robust oversight and contributions to Yelp's strategy, priorities and execution. Yelp is committed to maintaining a highly relevant and diverse Board with the specific mix of skills and experience for our business that will help drive growth, facilitate oversight and deliver value for our shareholders. As such, the Board and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee are in the process, with the support of a nationally-recognized director search firm, of considering potential skill sets and opportunities that would further strengthen and enhance our Board. We welcome investor input to the process. Yelp is well-positioned to capitalize on the opportunities before us and we are sharply focused on pursuing the right strategies to fortify that position and deliver sustained long-term growth. We are confident about the strategic initiatives we are executing, including continuing to evolve our business, targeting Restaurants and Home & Local Services categories as our strategic priorities, prioritizing enhanced product offerings and app features, diversifying our go-to-market strategies, divesting non-core businesses and leveraging partnerships where appropriate, reducing overseas investment and returning capital to shareholders. In addition to strategic and business actions, Yelp also took a new, well-received approach this year to our financial communications by writing quarterly letters to our investors to provide more transparency, context and clarity around our thinking. We also have strengthened our executive and operating team under our CEO with external leadership hires and internal promotions. Additionally, the Board's Compensation Committee has sought to ensure that the compensation of management, and especially that of the CEO -- who is one of our largest shareholders, takes a $1.00 salary and is compensated with option-based equity awards -- is highly aligned with shareholders and subject to regular review. The Board regularly evaluates actions to unlock the full potential of our business, capital allocation alternatives and the evolving competitive and consumer landscape, including the recent profitable sale of the Eat24 business. In addition, our Board and management team continue to analyze how we can best accelerate our business model, optimize our investments in targeted growth initiatives, improve our cost and expense structure and capitalize on margin enhancement. The Board also recognizes Yelp stock as an investment opportunity and remains committed to returning value to shareholders and as such, recently authorized a significant increase in its buyback program which was initiated over a year ago. Yelp has a strong strategy in place and the company is continuing to take decisive actions to execute that strategy and capitalize on opportunities to drive sustainable growth and value for all Yelp investors and stakeholders."