Groupon has become the next big social company to file for an initial public offering, following the lead of LinkedIn.
The company, which offers consumers localized deals and gets money through a cut of each sale, has deals with 57,000 merchants in 43 countries. By the end of March of this year, it had sold 28.1 million Groupon deals in the first quarter of this year alone. Overall, in its history, it has sold more than 70 million groupon deals. The website first launched in November of 2007.
For last quarter, Groupon earned $644.7 million in revenue, which was up from $3.3 million in the second quarter of 2009 and $44.2 million in the first quarter of 2010. However, the revenue was actually down from $146.5 million from the previous quarter.
The company, which is based out of Chicago, recently turned down an offer from Google to be bought out for $6 billion. Instead, Google has introduced its own version of Groupon, a deals like platform, which was introduced with its Google Wallet service last week.
In an SEC filing, Groupon says it plans on trading under the symbol GRPN. Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs are the banks underwriting the IPO. In a letter to potential stockholders, Groupon chief executive and founder Andrew Mason, explained how the company measures itself financially.
First, we track gross profit, which we believe is the best proxy for the value we're creating. Second, we measure free cash flow-there is no better metric for long-term financial stability. Finally, we use a third metric to measure our financial performance-Adjusted Consolidated Segment Operating Income, or Adjusted CSOI. This metric is our consolidated segment operating income before our new subscriber acquisition costs and certain non-cash charges, Mason wrote.
In the letter, Mason admits the ride will likely be bumpy due to the newness of the industry, but says it's grown exponentially and has nowhere to go but up.
LinkedIn became the first major social company to go public a few weeks ago. The company's IPO of $40 per share, tripled on its first day of trading to $120. However, it has since come back down to earth and currently sits around $79 per share, with a market capitalization of $7.5 billion.
The next two big companies people will look at to public are Zynga and Facebook, the latter of which might not happen for a while. Various media reports indicate Zynga may go public this month.