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WWN Financial News – Groupon Deal of the Day – 50% off IPO shares!

In a rare demonstration of corporate “eating your own cooking,” Groupon, Inc. today unveiled a coupon entitling investors to participate in its highly anticipated IPO at a 50% discount to the IPO price.  Groupon filed with the SEC for a $750 million offering on June 2nd, but it is widely anticipated that Groupon will raise $1 billion or more in the offering and value the company at $20 billion.  Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse have been tapped to co-manage the IPO which is expected by October.

The coupon went live on Groupon’s site at 6:53 p.m. June 3rd and “tipped” within 50 minutes via 50 purchases.  The offer remains open for 8 more hours.  Coupon denominations can be determined by the purchaser, and in the case of Groupon’s Groupon, the average face value is in excess of $5 million.

The Company’s IPO underwriting group was taken aback by the surprise move, but lead banker on the transaction, Bill Strong of Morgan Stanley, commented, “It’s highly unorthodox to offer a coupon discount in a major IPO, particularly for such a high profile deal.  Because Groupon’s model requires customers to offer goods & services for 50%-90% discounts, they just got backed into a corner.”

Google, which made an unsolicited $6 billion bid for Groupon last year, was rumored to be among the first to secure one of the IPO discount coupons.  Sources who could not be identified given pre-offering SEC restrictions, said a high concentration of coupons were sold to Silicon Valley and Chinese investors.  It was also rumored that many coupons had been purchased via an IP address linked to Wal-Mart – known for its everyday discount prices.

Groupon founder, Andrew Mason, commented, “If you are not careful, new economic realities can make you obsolete in seconds.

Today’s consumer is challenged – they expect things to be free or at least half price.  Paying full retail is so 1990s.  In today’s global economy, you can sell products and services for ½ price or less – because you make up for it in volume.  What better way to prove our model than by using it in our IPO.   The servers are humming with demand and we’ve already raised nearly $400 million toward our IPO.”