Groupon follows LinkedIn with IPO

Here we go again

Six months after it rejected a $6bn takeover offer from Google, Groupon has filed for an IPO. The Chicago-based company – which sells coupons for discounted goods and services from local merchants – hopes to raise $750m.

According to an SEC filing, Groupon's revenues topped $644.7m in the first quarter of 2011, up from $44.2m in the same quarter last year. That $644.7m figure nearly matches the company's revenues for all of 2010 ($713.3m).

Groupon says that it has agreements with almost 57,000 local merchants in 43 different countries, and that in Q1 it sold 28.1 million coupons. But in Q1, the company was still $102.7m in the red, thanks to some serious cash spent on marketing and expanding its sales force. Its net loss in 2010 was $389.6 million.

Suddenly, it feels like the 90s again. Two weeks ago, professional social networking outfit LinkedIn went public at $45 per share, and its stock soared to over $120 before settling down to around $80. Zynga, the online gaming outfit that has made a name for itself atop Facebook, is expected to file for an IPO this month.

According to reports, Groupon's valuation could be as high $25bn, which would dwarf Google's $6bn offer. But the company could face tougher times ahead. Since failing in its bid to buy Groupon, Google has launched its own daily deals services. As have Facebook and Amazon. ®

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