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Yelp to acquire restaurant reservation service SeatMe to take on OpenTable

Yelp can already help you pick the best restaurant in town, and now it wants to help you get a table there. The company announced on Thursday that it’ll be purchasing SeatMe, a service that allows restaurants to manage their waitlist and provide online reservations, for about $12.7 million. The acquisition is a clear move toward taking on OpenTable, which has already become the dominant tool for placing reservations online. Right now, Yelp includes OpenTable integration for restaurants that use the service, but it’ll certainly be hoping to replace some of those with SeatMe once the service rolls out on a broader scale.

It’ll be an uphill battle for Yelp as it tries to do that. The company has been working to make its entire service more robust on all grounds — from enabling reservations with SeatMe, to carrying out payments on its own — as a way to take on its competitors. That could make Yelp more versatile than OpenTable, but OpenTable still has a huge head start when it comes to adoption for placing reservations. A number of major services, including Foursquare, Evernote, and Yelp itself, all send users over to OpenTable, which currently boasts 28,000 listed restaurants — SeatMe, on the other hand, remains closer to 100.

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Mystic Maggie

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