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Groupon postponing IPO over market chaos?

The daily-deals service was reportedly readying a public-market debut for after Labor Day but has decided to push it back indefinitely.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Daily-deals provider Groupon has decided to postpone its initial public offering, The Wall Street Journal is reporting, citing anonymous sources.

The Journal's sources claim that Groupon's management has decided against an IPO anytime soon due to the stock market's continued "volatility." Initially, the Journal's sources claim, Groupon was planning to price its shares during the middle of September and go public soon thereafter.

Groupon filed for its IPO with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in June. The $750 million IPO could value the company at a reported $20 billion to $25 billion, depending on the number of shares it would eventually offer.

When Groupon announced plans to go public, the stock market appeared welcoming for companies hoping to score big with an IPO. In May, LinkedIn saw its shares soar 109 percent in its first day of trading. Later that month, Yandex shares were offered on the Nasdaq, and they closed the day at $37.75, up from their initial price of $25.

However, the market has been hit hard over the last few months. With the financial crisis in Europe continuing to worsen, and economic and political issues in the United States prompting the Standard & Poors rating agency to downgrade the U.S. debt rating from AAA to AA+, the markets swung wildly. Such volatility, which continues to linger, is fine for savvy investors, but companies looking to go public are finding a difficult environment in which to initially offer their shares.

Related stories:
Groupon files its IPO papers
Zynga files for IPO
Carbonite shares rise in first day of trading

The less than ideal conditions of the current IPO market was made abundantly clear last month, when online-backup provider Carbonite went public. The company was forced to offer its shares at $10, rather than the $15 to $17 a share for which it initially hoped. During a call with reporters last month, Carbonite co-founder and CEO David Friend said his company almost wasn't able to go public, due to concerns from investment banks over the viability of such a move.

Carbonite shares are now trading at about $12.

Whether or not other companies will want to follow Carbonite in navigating the choppy waters toward an IPO remains to be seen. At this point, it might simply be the wrong time and the wrong market for going public.

Groupon, naturally, isn't the only Internet company being forced to make the public-or-private decision. Earlier this year, social-gaming company Zynga announced plans to go public. Last month, however, reports surfaced claiming that Zynga is also considering delaying its IPO because of chaos in the stock market.

Groupon declined CNET's request for comment.