Groupon flotation values voucher website at $13bn


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The Independent Online

Groupon, the online marketing sensation, will make its stock market debut in New York today, after a share sale that values the three-year-old company at $13bn.

Although that valuation is below the $20m figure that was mooted in June when the company's founder, Andrew Mason, described Groupon as "better positioned than any company in history to reshape local commerce", it was above the top of the range of up to $11.4bn that the company's advisers set when they began seeking investors last month.

The shares were priced at $20 apiece, above the indicated range of $16 to $18, raising $700m to fund expansion. The company has 143 million subscribers who have signed up to receive a daily email offering coupons for cut-price deals on everything from local spas and restaurants to dry cleaning. But it has endured criticism from some sceptical investors who say it could prove a fad if subscribers drift off and if merchants don't get the expected benefits from offering deals through Groupon.

The scaled-back share sale was 10 times oversubscribed, as buyers bet on a strong early pop in the share price and long-term success for Mr Mason and his 7,000-plus employees.

Groupon's debut follows similarly hot flotations by other internet sensations this year, including online radio service Pandora, the car hire business Zipcar and the social network LinkedIn.