Groupon seeking to raise funds

Faith Merino · December 16, 2010 · Short URL:

After turning down Google, Groupon is looking to raise funds that would value it at under $6B

A mere two weeks after Groupon snubbed Google’s $6 billion acquisition offer, the daily deals site is rumored to be looking to raise “several hundred million dollars” in funds, according to a report from Bloomberg Thursday.  According to unnamed sources, the financing would put Groupon at a valuation of just under $6 billion.

The report comes right after LivingSocial received a $183 million infusion of capital from Amazon and LightSpeed Venture Partners, bringing its total financing to $232 million.

Rumors began circulating of Groupon’s interest in raising funds back in early November.  At the time, it was believed that Groupon was looking to raise enough funds to give it a $3 billion valuation, but shortly thereafter, Yahoo and Google began courting the company, and talks of fundraising fell by the wayside.  Yahoo’s “offer” was reportedly less of an offer than an “offer to offer,” but it was Google’s interest that really kicked the headlines into overdrive. 

Back in April, Groupon raised $135 million in a financing round led by Digital Sky Technologies, which gave it a valuation of $1.3 billion.  

Founded in 2008, Groupon currently operates in over 250 cities in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Europe, and maintains a staff of some 3,000 people.  It’s believed to rake in more than $500 million in sales, but some have put the company’s total revenues as high as $2 billion a year.  Some have questioned, though, if Groupon really does present an opportunity for profitability for businesses, which are required to give Groupon a pretty substantial cut (50%) of the profits while also having to provide a minimum 50% discount.  For example, a company might offer $100 worth of a product or service for $50, which means that for every deal, the merchant only takes about $25. 

But other reports show that businesses are thriving under Groupon’s model.  American Apparel reported that customers who recently bought a $25 Groupon for $50 worth of American Apparel merchandise ended up spending $70 on average per transaction.  The campaign raised $3.3 million, and according to one source, Groupon made “much, much less than half.”

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