Groupon: Bigger Than Google?

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Daily shopping deals website Groupon has been holding pre-IPO talks valuing it at up to $25 billion, according to anonymous sources quoted by Bloomberg in a lengthy interview with company founder Andrew Mason.

If it did reach that target, it would make Groupon the biggest IPO ever, knocking Google’s 2004 total of $24.6 billion off the top spot.

That said, it’s important to note the two little words “up to” in Bloomberg’s report. That’s the upper limit. The talks “focused on a $15 billion valuation”.

Groupon has spent the last year expanding rapidly outside the US, where it began as a Chicago startup in 2008. Groupon opened a South Korean website earlier this week and has ambitious growth targets all over the world. In the last few weeks, it’s also opened sites in Australia, China and United Arab Emirates. Just in the last few weeks.

But wait, there’s more. Coming soon is a new mobile app, Groupon Now. Open it, and you’ll see just two buttons: I’m Hungry, and I’m Bored. Click one, and the app instantly pulls up deals and offers from food or entertainment establishments nearby. Grab the deal there and then, and you’re all set. (What happens if you’re both hungry and bored is another question entirely.)

Can a money-savings website really be worth more after two-and-a-bit years than Google was after six? The thing is, people really like saving money. In today’s economy, every dollar counts. And quite a lot of them are going to Groupon, which could generate as much as $4 billion of income this year.