Groupon gets it together with November IPO date

Groupon sets an IPO date after a tumultuous few months since making the initial announcement. Have things finally settled down?
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Following reports yesterday that Groupon is planning to list shares on Nasdaq -- just like Zynga chose recently -- the daily deal site has seemed to get a grasp on things after a roller coaster few months since filing an initial public offering.

Groupon will in fact be listed on the Nasdaq under the symbol "GRPN," with shares starting between $16 to $18. The Chicago-based venture has also set a date for Friday, November 4th for its IPO with an updated plan to raise up to $621 billion, meaning the company will be valued at up to $11.4 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In contrast, back in June, Groupon initially planned to raise up to $750 million.

Yet since then, Groupon has a had a rocky ride, likely giving worry to analysts, investors, and even customers. Problems included reports about unusual accounting schemes, costing business owners more money than they receive in return, and major drops in traffic in comparison to major competitor  LivingSocial. Groupon was supposedly even bleeding money itself.

All of this taken together has given rise to the theory that Groupon could be for daily deals what MySpace has become for social networks, which isn't a very favorable comparison if you're at all familiar with the latter.

Several other major startups, such as Kayak and Evernote, that have made it big in the last few years and declared IPOs have evidently learned by example and have held back from rushing to go public.

However, maybe Groupon deserves a little bit of a break. LinkedIn co-founder and executive chairman Reid Hoffman explained during the Web 2.0 Summit this week that going public "ends up being a much more painful process" than expected, especially because "you basically can’t say anything in the press."

Thus, it's quite possible that CEO Andrew Mason and company have a better handle on the financials than we realize. Groupon, like Zynga, has likely held off until November as the stock market has been particularly tumultuous the last few months. Nevertheless, we'll know more on November 4. Either Groupon is doing just fine and will continue to grow -- or we could see a huge plunge like Pandora.


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