Story updated to include calculations of Groupon's growth starting in the 11th paragraph.
NEW YORK (
new valuation of $11.4 billion is less than half of the $25 billion it asked for in its June filing -- making the company four times more attractive to investors than previous IPO attempts.
Groupon submitted an amended initial public offering on Friday, putting its previously delayed IPO on track for early November and offering its biggest price cut yet.
Still to be seen is whether -- like its deals for spa treatments and pizza slices -- Groupon's IPO price cut be big enough to attract buyers?
The company expects to sell 30 million shares -- 4.7% of its existing 632 million share base -- for as much as $18 per share. The IPO would raise $540 million through the offering. The company will trade under the ticker GRPN.
In its new filing, the Chicago based online deals site founded three years ago reported revenue of $430.2 million in the third quarter of 2011 and quarter-over quarter growth of 9.6%, a slowing of its 33% second quarter growth rate.
Nevertheless, revenue is at $1.12 billion nine months into the year. It means that revenue is expected to end the year having quadrupled since 2010. Today's filing shows the company's loss grew to $308 million in the first nine months into the year, but may be lower than the $456 million it reported at the end of last year.
Because of its revenue in 2011 that's already exceeded $1 billion, Groupon is now seeking less than 10 times sales valuation in its IPO, significantly lower than its previous 36 times 2010 revenue valuation and those used to value
in their offerings.
LinkedIn was valued at roughly 38 times 2010 sales and Pandora was given a price of near 20 times 2010 sales when they did IPO's earlier in the year. By looking at its growing revenue since last year -- and since it delayed IPO efforts, Groupon's new valuation only double's its valuation from a previous $6 billion bid by
gave it at the end of 2010.
On a non GAAP-basis, so-called consolidated segment operating income (which excludes acquisition and stock-based compensation expense) came in at a small loss of $10.6 million from $101.2 million. This quarter, the number of Groupon's email subscribers grew 24%. Of its now 142 million subscribers, 29.5 million purchased a Groupon nine months into the year.
Groupon's updated filing doesn't change its fundamental argument for a multi-billion dollar valuation -- exponential growth in customers, revenue and deals products since 2009. The price cut reflects both growing risk aversion in markets, increased competition in online deals, questions about the stickiness of its services with consumers and businesses and growing expense.
At issue is the pace of the rate of growth in Groupon's sold and its revenue per subscriber. From the second quarter 2009 through the fourth quarter of 2010, the company more than doubled its Groupons sold every quarter. In the final quarter of 2010, it sold more than 16 million Groupons. Since the end of 2010, it's taken 9 months to double its Groupons sold to current levels of 33 million. The company also made $15.9 per each email subscriber when it only had a smattering of 152,203 subscribers in June 2009. With its exponentially larger 142 million subscribers, the company now only earns $3.3 on each.
Still in the more than two years of data that the company's now reported, there are positive signs. On average, Groupon is now selling 4.2 Groupons to repeat customers up from 3.3 sold to customers in June 2009. Additionally, its revenue per Groupon sold has increased to $13, its highest reported level ever and an increase in profitability of 25% from June 2009. The question is whether Groupon's sales growth puts it in a position to be profitable once expenses to grow the reach of its business.
In the first nine months of the year, Groupon increased its marketing expense six-fold to $613 compared with the same period in 2010. Additionally, its revenue for each email subscriber fell to $3.3, a 15% drop. The company now also has more than 10,000 employees after a push to grow in the U.S. and internationally.
Since June, Groupon delayed its IPO - announcing in September it would wait out market volatility and further show its earnings abilities to investors. After concerns of accounting in its initial filing, the Chicago-based online deals site recalculated its 2010 revenue in a September filing that cut sales in half to $313 million, and showed a $223 million loss in the first six months of 2011.
Meanwhile, the company appears to be pushing ahead because of a growing revenue and subscribers and narrowing losses. It's also a signal that frozen IPO markets are thawing.
, a broadband wireless network infrastructure provider sold just over 7 million shares at $15 apiece. In the weeks leading to its first day of trading, Ubiquiti cut its price expectations from over $20 a share to a range to $15 to $17. It was the first IPO since Sep. 1 when real estate investment trust
American Realty Capital
sold just over 5.5 million shares for $12.50 a share.
According to quarterly data from
, Global IPO activity has totaled $142.5 billion so far in 2011, down 8% from last year's equivalent total.
When Groupon sells shares in its IPO,
will be its lead underwriters.
-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York