Posted December 21, 2009 7:00 am by with 9 comments

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As the great Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over” and the deal between Yelp and Google is the latest proof of that. In the Internet space in particular an extra dose of caution is recommended when hearing a ‘rumor’ (i.e. something that comes on ‘good authority’ and is almost a done deal) to take a step back and give the rumor a chance to breathe. Unlike a bottle of fine wine, though, rumors in this space often go south but that’s just part of the space.

The latest ‘event’ that received the treatment of a lot of attention but didn’t finish as rumored was the ‘deal’ between Google and Yelp. Last week we told you of TechCrunch’s report on the imminent Google deal to purchase Yelp.

Google and Yelp are in advanced acquisition negotiations, we’ve confirmed from multiple sources. And while the deal isn’t done, we’ve heard that it’s very likely to close. The price is supposedly at least $500 million.

Well, TechCrunch reports that this deal has derailed and that Yelp is walking away from a significant offer.

The deal was, as we wrote late last week, in the later stages of negotiation. The two companies had agreed on a price – around $550 million plus earnouts – and were working through the final details of the acquisition.

Then something happened that made Yelp reconsider the deal. Over the weekend they notified Google that they were not going to sell, say multiple sources.

That something must have been pretty big and pretty sudden. These negotiations take a considerable amount of time to get to the point where an anonymous source gets the itch to leak the ‘truth’ to the Internet media press. This information was leaked but apparently there were a few landmines that were not seen or not considered ‘deal breakers’.

One can speculate all day long as to why this deal fell apart but we are not going down that road. In fact, until something is officially noted by either company (which may or may not happen) we’ll sit on the sidelines for now.

So with everything in life and, in particular the Internet marketing industry, step on the rumor mill with your grain of salt handy. As for now let us know if this is good news that the deal fell through or were you thinking there was some good to come out of the acquisition.