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Yelp expands to restaurant reservations, delivery

Yelp has acquired mobile reservations service SeatMe in a move designed to deepen the review website’s relationships with local businesses and compete with FourSquare and Square, both favorites among local businesses.

The $12.7 million acquisition, which the company announced Thursday, offers Yelp more inroads with local bars and restaurants, many of which are using online services and mobile apps to seat their customers.

But the purchase ruffled a few feathers over at OpenTable, the San Francisco-based SeatMe competitor that Yelp currently uses to power its online reservations. The SeatMe deal is likely to complicate that arrangement, and Open Table stock fell Thursday and continued its downslide on Friday, plummeting more than 6 percent.

But CEO and Co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman suggested in a company news release that Yelp will continue to use both services: “We believe SeatMe will add online reservation capabilities to a broader market while complementing our existing partnerships.”

He added: “Additionally, SeatMe provides us with yet another way to close the loop between local businesses and consumers.”

San Francisco-based Yelp has made as series of strategic moves to strengthen ties with local restaurant, hospitality and retail businesses, and expand its platform with tools to drive business to offline and small merchants.

Earlier this month, the company announced its entrance into food ordering and delivery through partnerships with Eat24 and Delivery.com. The partnership has been a boon for Eat24 – the San Francisco startup received about 1,000 sign-up requests from restaurants within the first couple of days.

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Mystic Maggie

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