It's make or break time. Metastasizing corporate basketcase Groupon is going public Friday. Are stock investors crazy enough to value the unprofitable company at $11 billion?
Groupon's ticker will be GRPN, and its IPO will price tomorrow ahead of its Friday debut on the Nasdaq, according to All Things D and Reuters. Henry Blodget, the financial blogger who as an analyst became an icon of Bubble.com 1.0, summed up the general mood of awe and wariness in a tweet: "If I were running a big fund, I'd have placed a huge order for Groupon, too. And then I'd flip immediately."
Groupon has been losing a ton of money, has been technically insolvent, got in hot water with the SEC for its shady accounting metrics, and has squandered most of its capital on crazy high executive bonuses.
But of all the sketchy money losing online coupon companies run by terrifying people, Groupon is the big sweaty top dog. No one loses as much money in as many markets (183)! So Groupon's underwriters, including the always trustworthy Goldman Sachs, think it will do reasonably well Friday. But then, maybe the public markets are actually smarter now than they were 12 years ago, and investors will realize that the company's recent behavior makes it less attractive than when Google offered to buy the company for $6 billion. It could happen.