Today Groupon finally went public and with the stock opening with a 40 percent spike things don't look so bleak after-all. After putting off its IPO for months, expectations weren't very high for Groupon's ever shrinking valuation. But after finally going public, the company's stock "popped," as the lingo would have it, meaning the shares sold for higher than originally priced in a short period of time. When trading started at 10:45 a.m. the stock soared from its original $20 per share to $28, a 40 percent increase. So it's great for Groupon, at least for the moment.
This isn't the $30 billion dollar valuation predicted back in June, but Groupon's doing better than anticipated. Things have been pretty downhill since Groupon's bonanza $750 million IPO announcement in June. The initial excitement for the daily deals site lasted until the Security and Exchange Commission doubted Groupon's financial reporting. And then more doubts came as people questioned the entire daily-deals business model. No longer a tech golden child, Groupon delayed and scaled-back its IPO to something close to a $12 billion dollar valuation. Of course, only causing further doubt of the company's worth. But Groupon's apparently not so worthless. This $28 per share opening is 40 percent more than Groupon priced the stock and puts Groupon well above that sad $12 billion number, at nearly $19 billion notes DealBook's Evelyn Rusli.
But, and there's kind of a big but: this better-than-expected $28 per share isn't expected to last forever. Stocks that pop don't generally continue to soar. Businessweek's Mark Gimein even ventured to say they tank, pointing to the 25 "hottest" offerings of 2010 and 2011. "There’s a lot of red: after the initial 'pop'—the jump from the offering price to the open—20 of those 25 tanked," he points out. "Many have fallen 50 percent (one high profile example: Demand Media, down 68 percent since its January debut), a few more than 80 percent." That doesn't bode well for Groupon. But, things didn't go over as poorly as Gimein makes it seem. There's more to the story, explains Reuters's Felix Salmon. "The good news for Groupon buried in this chart is that if you take the 25 stocks with the biggest opening-day pops, they’re up by 9.25%, on average, from their offer price," he writes. That means it will likely still sell higher than the $20 share price, which is still better than it was supposed to fare, continues Salmon. "And remember that the conventional wisdom, as of a day or two ago, was that Groupon was worth maybe $5 billion tops, or somewhere in the $8-per-share range. Instead, even if Groupon falls back towards $20 from here, it’s still likely to be worth an eleven-figure sum for the foreseeable future," he explains.
But not everyone is as optimistic as Salmon, this Groupon thing could just be a sign of the impending tech-bubble meaning only bad things to come for Groupon in the way long market. "Groupon’s I.P.O. certainly helps the U.S. market for technology offerings,” Josef Schuster, a money manager at IPOX Schuster, told Rusli. "It indicates that people are willing to take risk again." But as Business Insider's Henry Blodget points out, in this market, that just won't last. "Right now, the big institutional investors who got the stock at $20 and swore up and down that they'd hold it forever are now gleefully flipping it to anyone who will buy it," he points out. That's not a positive trend for Groupon, and Blodget estimates that the value will only tank from here. "At ~$30 a share, Groupon's valuation is about $20 billion. If the next few quarters are as rough as I think they might be, the stock could easily trade down to ~$8 billion, or ~$12 a share," he guesses.
No matter how much Groupon inevitably falls from this moment of fun, for now, the daily deals site should celebrate: For the first time in months it's not falling short of expectations.
Update: As expected, Groupon's stock pulled back at the end of the day, finishing at $26.11 shares, with a market value of $16.5 billion.