Groupon files with SEC for public offering

After LinkedIn's wildly successful IPO in May, Groupon outlines its plan to take the plunge to raise $750M

Following closely on the heels of LinkedIn's successful initial public offering, Groupon on Thursday announced plans for an IPO it hopes will raise some $750 million.

Groupon filed papers today with the Securities and Exchange Commission that offer potential investors a look at the history of burgeoning sales and dramatic losses at the Chicago-based online daily deals company.

Groupon, looking to trade under the moniker GRPN, noted in its filing that it generated $645 million in sales in the first quarter of this year. On the other hand, the company reported a loss of nearly $114 million during the period, on top of a loss of $413 million in 2010.

While Groupon has gained significant name recognition and buzz in the online world since it was launched in November 2008, it has also seen increased competition from a rash of newcomers to the daily-deals world, as well as from major Internet players like Google and Facebook.

The increasing competition, though, shows the potential power of a daily deals market that is still led by Groupon.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are listed as co-lead underwriters for the IPO, with participation by Credit Suisse.

Groupon's filing didn't say whether it is looking to trade on the Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange.

Though it's generally considered to be a second-tier player in the social networking world, LinkedIn last month beat out all the big dogs to become the first U.S.-based social network to complete an IPO.

At the end of its first day of trading, the company was valued at $9.8 billion, about three times the valuation analysts had initially projected.

That success raised a lot of eyebrows, as investors and industry analysts had been eying that IPO as a possible bellwether for the social media industry as a whole, and Facebook in particular.

Facebook, the largest social network in the world, is expected to file for an IPO in late 2012 or shortly thereafter.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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