Bargain website Groupon releases US float plans
Friday 03 June 2011
Groupon, the internet marketing sensation which emails 83 million people around the world with a "deal of the day" coupon, launched its plan to float on the stock market in the US last night by claiming it was "better positioned than any company in history to reshape local commerce".
The lofty rhetoric from the company's 30-year-old founder, Andrew Mason, more than matched the anticipation which accompanied the build-up to the announcement, as investors have clamoured for access to fast-growing social media ventures.
Mr Mason founded Groupon just 30 months ago but – as the flotation prospectus revealed – it brought in revenues of $645m in the first quarter of this year, almost as much as it brought it for the whole of 2010. Local retailers, restaurants and other merchants offer deeply-discounted deals to Groupon subscribers in the hope of winning new regular customers, and since the first-ever Groupon deal for pizza at the restaurant below its Chicago offices in October 2008, the company has sold 70 million coupons.
In an unusual cover letter to potential shareholders, Mr Mason sought to put a human face on the marketing juggernaut, and to claim that Groupon would be no ordinary investment.
"We are unusual and we like it that way," he said. "We want the time people spend with Groupon to be memorable. Life is too short to be a boring company. We seek to create experiences for our customers that make today different enough from yesterday to justify getting out of bed. Expect us to make ambitious bets on our future that distract us from our current business. Some bets we'll get right, and others we'll get wrong, but we think it's the only way to continuously build disruptive products."
Groupon started life as a social media project aimed at bringing together groups of people to do philanthropic works, but when that did not take off, it changed course to concentrate on more commercial ideas.
The flotation document filed last night with regulators set out publicly for the first time the details of Groupon's finances. Its losses last year were $456.3m, and it lost a further $146.5m in the first three months of 2011 as it has expanded dramatically around the world. It now employs more than 7,100 staff, half of them in sales to liaise with local merchants in 43 countries.
What the document does not set out is what the company might eventually be worth. It said that it would sell up to $750m of shares, but gave no indication what proportion of the company that might be. Recent internet stock flotations, such as the debuts of LinkedIn and Russian search engine Yandex, have been characterised by frenzied demand from investors, so much so that companies have repeatedly increased the sale price of the shares before settling on a final price.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...