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Yelp shares soar amid reports of possible sale

Yelp exploring sale: DJ

Yelp shares closed 23 percent higher Thursday amid reports it was considering a sale.

Trading was briefly halted for volatility around 1 p.m. EDT Thursday.

The San Francisco-based online business review company has met with investment bankers and made contact with potential buyers in recent weeks, Dow Jones reported Thursday, citing sources. A deal is not imminent, sources told the news service.

Matt Nighswander | NBC News

In a note issued after the report, analysts at Piper Jaffray said that Google, Facebook and Apple made the most sense as Yelp buyers.

"They all would benefit from further traction in the local advertising space, have ample capital to consummate a sale, and would experience technology infrastructure synergies," the firm wrote.

Before Thursday, Yelp shares had plummeted more than 20 percent this year. Its market capitalization was recently at about $2.9 billion.

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The company last month reported lower-than-expected first-quarter revenue of $118.5 million. The stock reeled on the results despite that figure growing 55 percent from a year earlier.

Yelp may be for sale

Last week, CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer speculated that companies in need of growth—including Yahoo or Priceline—could potentially buy Yelp.

In response to a request from CNBC, Yelp said it did not comment on rumors or speculation.