‘Chinese Groupon’ Takes an IPO Shot

Oct 31, 2011, 1:30 pm EDT
‘Chinese Groupon’ Takes an IPO Shot

It looks like Groupon’s IPO should get a nice pop on its debut this Friday (at least according to reports from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal). So why not a public offering from its Chinese counterpart?

Lashou Group, which filed for an IPO on Friday, offers up to 1,000 daily deals across 500 cities and towns in China. Most of the offers are from restaurants, hotels and beauty shops, with a merchant base is roughly 24,000.

And growth has been torrid. Average monthly unique visitors have soared from 295,000 in the second quarter of 2010 to 29.7 million in the third quarter of 2011. Based on this metric, the company is the No.1 player in the daily-deals business in China. Read 

Groupon IPO Looking Like a Red-Hot Deal

Oct 31, 2011, 10:52 am EDT
Groupon IPO Looking Like a Red-Hot Deal

This Friday, Groupon will end a controversial IPO trip when it lists as GRPN on the Nasdaq and officially becomes a public company. Along the way, the company faced several missteps and obstacles, including having to restate its revenues by more than 50%, facing scrutiny for an internal memo from its CEO, and having several key executives depart.

But such things don’t seem to be issues for IPO investors. Reports from The Wall Street Journal and CNBC say the deal is seeing heavy demand. According to Bloomberg, there even is buzz that Groupon will boost its $16-$18 price range.

Why all the excitement? Well, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason has been giving strong presentations on the roadshow, such as by talking up his deals with brands like Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM), as well as new offerings like Groupon Now! (which allows for real-time offers via mobile devices). Read 

Pre-IPO Trading Markets Seeing a Surge

Oct 28, 2011, 12:35 pm EDT
Pre-IPO Trading Markets Seeing a Surge

Early in the year, investors were giddy about dot-com IPOs. Companies like LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) and HomeAway (Nasdaq:AWAY) had little trouble with their offerings. But with the extreme market volatility beginning in the summer, the IPO market virtually shut down.

Despite this, trading in the secondary markets (where you can purchase shares in pre-IPO companies) has surged. For example, SecondMarket, an online marketplace for trading nonliquid assets, saw a 122% increase in the third quarter to $170 million in trading volume.

It should be no surprise that investors in the secondary markets are focused on companies like Twitter, Zynga, Facebook and Groupon. Many of these shares come from employees looking for liquidity. But interesting enough, some companies use secondary markets as a way to raise capital. Read 

Groupon Goes Corporate, Zynga Stays Zany

Oct 27, 2011, 1:32 pm EDT
Groupon Goes Corporate, Zynga Stays Zany

Despite all the visionary talk from young dot-com CEOs, the golden rule still applies on Wall Street: That is, the person who has the gold makes the rules. This certainly has been illustrated by the Groupon offering.

Until a few weeks ago, Groupon’s CEO Andrew Mason was a wacky character. He liked to make funny facial gestures and crack jokes while giving interviews. He turned down a $6 billion offer from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) last year. Even in the original filing for Groupon’s IPO, Mason included a funky letter to prospective shareholders. In it, he talked about empowering the “little guy” and how his company was “unusual.” The most interesting line: “Life is too short to be a boring company.”

My, how things have bored down for Groupon. Read 

Unthink Has it Out for Facebook

Oct 27, 2011, 11:45 am EDT

Unless Mark Zuckerberg makes some huge blunders — on the scale of Netflix’s (NASDAQ:NFLX) Reed Hastings — Facebook should be one of history’s biggest IPOs. Yet the company’s success is starting to attract some rivals. The most notable is Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), which is getting plenty of traction with its similar G+ service.

But this year, several upstart companies have moved into the space, including Nextdoor (a neighborhood-based social network), Chime.in (an interest-based one) and Unthink — perhaps the most interesting of potential Facebook killers (the site is currently in beta), if only because it’s so anti- … well, Facebook. To get a sense of its attitude, check out this hilarious video:

Read 

Will Netflix, Amazon Implosions Hit Groupon’s IPO?

Oct 26, 2011, 1:32 pm EDT
Will Netflix, Amazon Implosions Hit Groupon’s IPO?

The buzz from Groupon’s IPO roadshow has been quiet, which is probably a good thing. Over the past few months, the company has suffered from several major blunders, such as a major restatement of its revenue and earnings as well as the departures of several key executive officers.

However, Wall Street investors did get some other unsettling news items, which could be a drag on Groupon’s IPO. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) has plunged nearly 35% since its earnings report and is off 74% from its high in July. In fact, the loss in Netflix’s market cap equals the consensus current value of Groupon.

But there was also another horrible data point: Amazon.com’s (Nasdaq:AMZN) stock plunged 10% on Wednesday after its earnings report late Tuesday. Read 

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