What bear market? Groupon pressing on with IPO plans

Reports of the death of Groupon’s IPO plans have apparently been greatly exaggerated. The online daily deals pioneer filed an updated version of its S-1 document with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, as part of its preparation for a planned initial public offering of its stock.

Since the company first filed its S-1 in June, Groupon has been roundly criticized for its seemingly shady accounting practices and that its early founders and investors have already cashed out billions of dollars worth of the company’s stock. CEO Andrew Mason was so irked by the negative press that he sent a long email to Groupon’s employees filled with talking points they could use to defend the company. Ironically, when that email was inevitably leaked to the press, it only attracted more criticism; the missive was seen as a violation of the SEC’s quiet period rules.

These issues coupled with the larger environment of economic unrest have fueled rumors that Groupon had put its stock market plans on ice. But Friday’s S-1 update — the third revision since June — shows that the company is still keen to go public. Despite Groupon’s swaggering reputation and Mason’s grumbling about haters, the company’s management is showing that underneath it all, it’s actually willing to make changes and respond to criticism. Specifically, the latest filing has a few notable tweaks: Groupon said it plans to scale back its marketing budget, reported that its revenue bookings were slightly higher in the second quarter of the year, and reprinted the full text of Mason’s leaked email.

More than anything, though, updating the S-1 shows that Groupon is still serious about making its stock market debut at some point soon. But ultimately, that will only happen if investors show that they have an appetite for the company’s shares.

Photo of “Hear, speak, see no evil” statue © 2003 David Monniaux, used courtesy of Creative Commons