Online daily-discount provider Groupon is rumored to be talking with banks about a public offering that would value it at as much as $25bn.
According to "two people with knowledge of the discussions", Bloomberg reports, the IPO would be "unlikely to assign Groupon a valuation of less than $15 billion", with $25bn being the upper limit.
If that higher figure is reached, it would put Groupon's value above that of Google's when the online ad broker and search-engine leader went public in 2004 for a piddling $23bn. Those early Google investors didn't make out too shabbily, though: as markets closed on Thursday, Google's market capitalization stood at $179.5bn.
Last November, Google was rumored to be mulling an aquisition of Groupon in a deal said to be worth $5bn. Shortly thereafter, however – after the bidding was said to have reached $6bn – Groupon nixed the deal.
As Bloomberg points out, however, Groupon has grown by leaps and bounds since that offer. At the time of Google's wooing, the daily-discount leader was active in 300 markets. That number has since ballooned to 500.
To put that $15bn to $25bn figure in perspective, The Reg checked out the market capitalization of 10 established companies, both in the tech sector and elsewhere. At the end of Thursday's trading, the New York Times Company was worth about $1.3bn; AMD, $5.6bn; Seagate, $6.3bn; Harley-Davidson $9.5bn; Nvidia $10.3bn; Intuit, $15.4bn; Adobe, $16.2bn; Yahoo!, $21.4bn; General Mills, $23.1bn; and Dell, $27.4bn.
Is a two-year-old coupon-pusher worth four or five times as much as the world's second-largest microprocessor maker and 12 to 20 times as much as The Gray Lady? We should find out sometime this year, when Groupon is expected to join the publicly traded crowd. ®