Groupon Expands IPO, Prices Above Range at $20 Per Share

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Groupon has priced its highly anticipated initial public offering, selling 35 million shares at $20 each to raise $700 million.

The Chicago-based online discount deal company was seeking to sell 30 million shares at between $16 to $18 each, so demand was stronger than expected, although still below the original parameters of the deal proposed when Groupon first filed back in June.

>> Sell groupon at the open, expert advises.

The company is now set to start trading Friday on the Nasdaq under the symbol "GRPN." At $20 per share, Groupon's market capitalization is around $12.6 billion.

Where the stock heads after the open will be closely watched as the company is still growing the top line, but at a much slower rate than it was just a year ago as competition in the space has grown fierce with both start-ups and established companies like Amazon.com ( AMZN) getting into the act.

Groupon's revenue for the most recent quarter ended in September totaled $430.2 million, up just 9% from revenue of $392.6 million in the June-ended three-month period. By way of comparison, the company's revenue more than doubled in the calendar fourth quarter of 2010 to $172.2 million from $81.8 million in the third calendar quarter of 2010.

For the nine months ended in September, the company lost $308.1 million, or $1.01 per share, on revenue of $1.12 billion, according to the latest S-1 statement. That compares to a loss of $77.7 million, or 23 cents a share, on revenue of $140.7 million in the same period a year earlier.

CEO Andrew Mason is already a fairly controversial figure because of missteps during the IPO process, but apparently investors are banking that he will have more "moments of brilliance" than ones of "sheer stupidity," a reference to Mason's address to potential investors in the company's S-1.

-- Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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