The New York Times' DealBook blog is reporting tonight that social buying site Groupon "is pushing ahead with plans for its initial public offering, a debut that could value the company at $15 billion or more." The site previously turned heads when it rejected Google's $6 billion acquisition offer and spurred many to begin discussing the dreaded "B-word" - Bubble.
Just last week, the site raised just under $1 billion in funding and released some interesting statistics on its meteoric growth. In the past year, Groupon has expanded from one to 35 countries, launched in 500 new markets (up from 30 in 2009), grew subscribers by 2,500% and worked with nearly 60,000 different businesses.
The closest competitor in the market, LivingSocial, recently raised $175 million, a figure now dwarfed by Groupon's latest round. DealBook reports that Groupon may be trying to get while the getting's good:
Groupon, say analysts, may be moving quickly to take advantage of the market's momentum and the excitement around fast-growing Web companies.
"It's smart to strike while the iron is hot, and they're the most visible and fastest growing player in their market," said [Greg Sterling, an analyst and the founder of Sterling Market Intelligence]. "To wait a year would inject a level of uncertainty for the proposition of going public."