Groupon’s Fall from IPO Grace

Groupon’s IPO is back on, at least for now. “Groupon Inc. is aiming to complete its initial public offering by late October or early November, sources familiar with the company said,” reports Crain’s Chicago Business‘s John Pletz. The company  has fallen far since it first filed for a $750 million offering. And if it doesn’t file soon the already struggling company could be headed for more trouble, continues Pletz. “To continue its aggressive growth strategy, Groupon will need more capital. Without an IPO, the company would be forced to go back to its existing venture-capital and mutual-fund investors for more money. … Without added capital, Groupon would have to reduce marketing spending that has allowed it to add more than 30 million subscribers in each of the past two quarters.” But given all the wavering even if Groupon files as scheduled–which doesn’t look certain–it doesn’t look like the daily deals maven will gain as much as it had initially hoped

December 3, 2010: Back in December, Google offered Groupon $6 billion dollars. At the time, daily deals were on the rise; Groupon turned turned it down.

June 2, 2011: Six months later, valued at an estimated $25 billion, Groupon announced an enormous $750 million IPO, planning to go public after Labor Day.

July 28, 2011: The Securities and Exchange Commission questioned Groupon’s evaluation metrics, suggesting the invented system paints a “more robust picture of performance,” reported The Wall Street Journal.

September 6, 2011: Scared to file during a shaky market, Groupon canceled its IPO plans. The news also came as daily deals sites hit a saturation point. And after Groupon experienced its first ever site traffic drop.

September 24, 2011: Groupon cut its reported revenue in half: from $713.4 million for 2010 down to $312.9 million. Another blow to its value.

September 24, 2011: COO Margo Georgiadis leaves after only five months on the job. Another bad sign.

October 3, 2011: Groupon claims its on track for a late October or early November IPO filing. But, that too depends on the market, continues Pletz. “Management is still waiting on market conditions to improve before committing to a launch date.”

Given that September’s markets closed for the worst month in three years and this morning’s are tanking, this late October announcement doesn’t sound too promising. And even if it does file, it looks like it will gain less than Google offered, ventures Businessweek‘s Douglass MacMillan, who pegs the valuation between $3 billion and $5 billion.

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