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Google going local for next buy

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Google has renewed takeover talks with local business review site Yelp.

The two have talked before without nailing down a deal. Yelp offers user-generated reviews of companies by local area - so you can see reviews of restaurants in Islington for instance.

But sources have told The New York Times that the discussions got serious about two months ago and are focussing on price and other details. Techcrunch puts the price at $500m - a hefty premium for a firm with annual revenues of $30m.

The company makes money by selling the slot above the reviews - not entirely dissimilar to how Google displays sponsored results above its search results.

Yelp was started by two ex-Paypal staff.

The San Francisco-based firm got into trouble earlier this year over allegations that sales staff were offering to disappear negative reviews of companies in exchange for advertising deals. Yelp was quick to deny that it moved negative reviews, but slower to comment on whether its sales staff were making such promises.

It launched in the UK in January and paid some people to kickstart proceedings by seeding the site with reviews. ®

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