Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley Hope Groupon's IPO Has Happ

by Derek Loosvelt | March 17, 2011

Groupon, the company that offers its customers deals such as a $135 full-body massage for just $53, is reportedly on the verge of an IPO that's being valued at $25 billion. 

And rumored to have their hands all over that public offering are the two giants of Wall Street -- Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley -- which stand to make tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars in fees if they end up co-managing the offering.

In addition, Andrew Mason, the CEO and founder of Groupon, the daily-deal market leader, stands to make Zuckerberg-like money.

Whether or not Groupon actually garners the $25 billion remains to be seen (Goldman and Morgan Stanley bankers are likely running the numbers right now) but one man who believes Groupon's valuation is more than fair is Andrew Zalasin, the CFO of venture capital firm RRE Ventures.

Zalasin has been following Groupon since its inception and says the reason the firm is worth so much is simple: (1) people have a great experience when they use Groupon and use it repeatedly, (2) users of Groupon tend to tell their friends how great Groupon is and these friends, in turn, also have great experiences using Groupon and use it repeatedly, and (3) Groupon (unlike Twitter and Facebook) actually makes money; Groupon does this by taking a piece of the discounted services its customers purchase through its site.

All of this is why Groupon has grown revenues (and users) by 100 percent in the past three months, and why the firm's valuation has risen from $6 billion at the end of 2010 to its current, very cool $25 billion.

As for why Groupon is considering accessing the public markets now, Zalasin points to Wall Street's current appetite for Groupon-like firms, citing JPMorgan's new social media fund and, of course, Goldman Sachs' recent Facebook investment.

(Bloomberg)

(Related: Goldman's Great Facebook Retreat)

Filed Under: Finance


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