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12/29/2010
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Groupon Seeks $950 Million In Venture Funding

The filing to raise investor capital has caused analysts to increase the daily-deal site's value to nearly $7 billion.

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Already thought to be the fastest growing company ever, Groupon wants to keep the momentum rolling by moving to raise nearly $1 billion that could be used to fund its runaway growth.

The online coupon company has filed incorporation papers in the State of Delaware for authorization to raise $950 million. That figure has venture capital wags putting the firm's total valuation between $5 billion and $7 billion. Different sources are placing different valuations on the daily deals company that offers a variety of offerings ranging from car washes and massages to restaurant coupons and dancing classes.

Just weeks ago, Google tried to acquire Groupon for a price estimated between $5 billion and $6 billion, but those negotiations were never confirmed by either company. The Chicago-based firm's dramatic success -- it is said to be generating annual revenue of $2 billion -- has spawned a flood of copycat sites. The largest competitor is LivingSocial, which recently received an investment injection of $175 million from Amazon.

In rejecting the Google acquisition bid, Groupon followed the lead of Facebook, which likewise turned down early acquisition offers while deciding to holdout for bigger paydays.

Groupon isn't required to file public financial statements because it is a private company, so the Delaware filing has the venture capital world speculating what's next for the daily deals company. Groupon already has made several international acquisitions and more funding could indicate there could be more international acquisitions. Some observers think Groupon will simply follow the trail of least resistance and move up a notch to address the small and midsize business (SMB) market.

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