Social buying website Groupon is apparently moving ahead with its plans for an IPO, which could value the company at over $15bn.
The New York Times' Dealboook reported that Groupon has raised a whopping $950m from investors and has talked about an IPO with bankers this week, according to two anonymous sources. They apparently said that ‘many' banks have valued the website at $15bn for an IPO.
Dealbook said the IPO (if it happens) could be seen as the most anticipated since Google went public back in 2004.
The $15bn valuation, if achieved, dwarfs the $6bn that Google offered to buy Groupon for. Since turning down the search giant's offer, Groupon has apparently been on the fast track to an IPO and has recently hired its first CFO, Jason Child, the former VP of finance for Amazon.
Groupon has reportedly raised $950m from investment banking big shots such as Fidelity Investments, Morgan Stanley and T. Rowe Price. It is believed to be the largest ever fund raising round for a start-up, beating Dream Works Animation which was thought to have pulled in the most as a start-up around 15 years ago.
Some experts reckon a few of the big banks might be fighting to take care of Groupon's IPO. Greg Sterling, founder of Sterling Market Intelligence told the newspaper: "Morgan Stanley is one of the premier firms on Wall Street. An investment would give them an inside track on an IPO."
He reportedly reckons that Groupon is likely to move fast to take advantage of the buzz surrounding web IPOs at the moment.
"It's smart to strike while the iron is hot, and they're the most visible and fastest-growing player in their market. To wait a year would inject a level of uncertainty for the proposition of going public," Sterling reportedly said.
Web start-ups have been taking money off investors left all over the place of late, notably Twitter raising $200m at a $3.7bn valuation and LinkedIn expected to prepare for an IPO this year.
It might not be a surprise if Groupon does go public rapidly as it seems to do everything so fast. The daily discount site is reportedly less than 3 years old and now has over 50 million users and annual revenue of over $1bn.