What Would a Delay Mean for Groupon’s IPO?

Groupon has postponed its IPO roadshow and is re-evaluating the timing of its IPO on a “week by week” basis, according to The Wall Street Journal. To us, the delay is not really a surprise. The company has been hit by a rash of questions about its accounting methods, recent sales trends, and its overall prospects for profitability. The stock market itself is very volatile.

In our view, the delay could work to Groupon’s advantage. Specifically, a delay might allow Groupon to add heft from new programs that are important to the company’s future, such as Groupon Getaways travel, and the GrouponNow “instant deals” program. GrouponNow uses the same customer base as Groupon, but adds a new dimension by enlisting a comprehensive set of local businesses for promotional discounts, rather than just a few businesses at a time for daily deals.

But there could also be a backlash if products like GrouponNow don’t work; Groupon’s overall results were to fade; or if new rivals such as GoogleOffers were to show that they will seriously cut into market share. If the IPO were not to get out, of course, there would obviously be negative implications for companies such as Living Social, which are basically waiting on deck for their own IPO.

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