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Yelp Inc. has expressed interest in buying Tabelog, a restaurant guide in Japan, the president of the Japanese website’s parent company said.
Yelp Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Stoppelman approached Tabelog earlier this year, according to Minoru Tanaka, who runs Tokyo-based Kakaku.com Inc., which owns Tabelog.
“The Yelp founder came here to this office and told me, ‘Can you spin out Tabelog from Kakaku.com? I want to buy it,’” Tanaka said in an interview. “I declined of course. But as you can see, he’s aware of us. And we’re aware of him.”
Kristen Titus, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Yelp, declined to comment.
Yelp and Tabelog, whose name is an amalgamation of the Japanese word for “eat” and blog, both offer restaurant reviews and guides. Kakaku provides product reviews and street prices for gadgets.
Tanaka said he declined Stoppelman’s offer and didn’t negotiate on prices.
“I’ve actually forgotten his name already,” Tanaka said of Stoppelman’s visit.
Yelp’s shares declined 19 percent on Oct. 23 after forecasting fourth-quarter sales that fell short of analysts’ estimates. Yelp said in a statement this week that revenue will be $107 million to $108 million for the current period, below the $111 million predicted on average by analysts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Yelp is seeking to expand outside the U.S. and today announced the acquisition of German restaurant-review website Restaurant-Kritik for an undisclosed amount. Yelp introduced a Japanese-language version of its website in April, focusing on the cities of Tokyo and Osaka.
Tabelog, which Kakaku rolled out in 2005, made up 34 percent of the parent company’s 8 billion yen ($74 million) in revenue for the first fiscal quarter, which ended in June. The food-focused website has 5.82 million reviews of almost 790,000 restaurants across Japan.
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