Groupon Inc., the biggest provider of online daily-deal coupons, is postponing its initial public offering and pushing back meetings with investors amid stock market swings, three people familiar with the matter said.
Groupon and its bankers were planning to pitch investors starting next week, said the people, who declined to be named because the company’s plans are private. Chicago-based Groupon may still be able to sell shares before year end, two of the people said.
U.S. listings have slowed because of investors’ concerns about economic growth, the European debt crisis and a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating. Since Groupon filed its initial prospectus in June, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has dropped 11 percent. Groupon also needs time to address regulators’ questions, including possible revisions to a controversial accounting method used in its filing, two of the people said.
Groupon spokeswoman Julie Mossler declined to comment.
U.S. IPOs have been shelved or scrapped at a faster rate in the past three months than the comparable period of any year since 2004, Bloomberg data show. Only five offerings were completed last month. Groupon’s top competitor, LivingSocial, has yet to file for an IPO, though the Washington-based company was close to hiring bankers as of July.
In Groupon’s updated IPO filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on July 14, it asked investors to disregard comments made the prior month by Chairman Eric Lefkofsky in a Bloomberg News story. On June 3, Lefkofsky said, “Groupon is going to be wildly profitable.” The company said the statement doesn’t accurately or completely reflect his views.
The SEC limits what companies planning IPOs can say about their prospects before listing shares. Last month, in a memo sent to employees that was obtained by Bloomberg News, Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mason said the company is growing and widening its lead over rivals.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Groupon is reevaluating its plans to go public.
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