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Groupon prices IPO at $20 a share

Demand for shares of the online-deals site pushes the IPO price past the initial projected range of $16 to $18. The stock begins trading Friday with the company expected to be valued at $12.7 billion.

November 04, 2011|By Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times

Investors apparently think Groupon Inc. is a deal.

The online-coupon site priced its initial public offering at $20 a share, exceeding the initially projected range of $16 to $18, as demand materialized despite lingering concerns about Groupon's accounting and business model.

"I'm not surprised there's more demand because a lot of times these IPOs are structured in a way to maximize the demand," said Anupam Palit, senior equity analyst at GreenCrest Capital Management in New York.

The stock will begin trading Friday on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol "GRPN." Groupon is expected to offer about 35 million shares, valuing the company at $12.7 billion.

The shares are expected to surge in early trading, although some experts say the price could fall back in the afternoon, following the pattern of some of this year's earlier Internet IPOs.

Though slowed by the troubled stock market over the summer, Internet IPOs have been hotly sought after this year as investors search for companies perceived to have strong growth potential in a slow economy.

Demand for Groupon also has been fed by other factors.

Its name recognition by the public is expected to draw many individual investors Friday, said Francis Gaskins of IPOdesktop.com in Marina del Rey.

"The people who will pile into it probably weren't around for the 2000 dot-com bust," Gaskins said of the period when once-high-flying technology stocks plummeted.

Groupon also has been helped by a tactic that other Internet companies used in their IPOs this year — selling only a small amount of their shares — in Groupon's case, about 5%.

walter.hamilton@latimes.com

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