Could another dotcom bubble be on the horizon? Less than a month after social networking site LinkedIn blew up in its blockbuster initial public offering, online coupon seller Groupon filed its S-1 form with the SEC.
The Chicago-based firm lost almost $120 million in the first quarter on sales of $644 million which to many sounds and feels a lot like the dotcom madness that ensued during the mid- and early 1990s when investment banks were trampling one another to take companies public even though they were essentially selling $1 bills for 85 cents apiece.
However, as the fast-growing company's prospectus points out, it already has 83 million subscribers in 43 different countries. That's impressive no matter how you slice even though the company only sold 28 million discounted deals to subscribers in the first three months of the year.
Still, the company in its filling said it hopes to raise at least $750 million.
There's an overhead issue to worry about too, considering it already has 7,000 employees scouring every nook and cranny of the Western and Eastern worlds looking for deals and vendors who want to want play ball.
For now, the exact value of the IPO remains anyone's guess. It will take several months to hammer out the pesky details of price and number of shares offered.
But considering the incredible success of LinkedIn's IPO last month -- the largest valuation for an Internet firm since Google's blowout IPO back in 2004 -- it's safe to say there will be plenty of buyers looking to ride what's shaping up to be a social media onslaught.
Keep in mind, Groupon reportedly balked at a $6 billion takeover bid from Google last year, figuring it would hang tight, go it alone and go public sooner than later. It's also worth noting that Groupon lost more than $400 million last year on sales just north of $700 million -- a significant disparity on both counts to Google which actually turned a profit of more than $100 million on twice as much revenue the year before it lit up Wall Street.
Meanwhile, lurking in the background is the 800-pound gorilla of the space, Facebook, with more than 550 million registered users and Twitter, the ubiquitous microblogging site, both of which seem likely to trounce whatever short-lived IPO record Groupon sets whenever they're finally unleashed.
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