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Google-target Groupon raises $950m

Investment values firm at $8 billion

Groupon is in the midst of a $950 million funding round, weeks after it reportedly rejected a $6 billion acquisition offer from Google.

Groupon has already raised about $500 million in this latest funding round, and expects to sell another $450 million in shares to investors, according to a document filed on Thursday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

About $345 million of the money will be used as payments to executive officers, directors and promoters of the privately-held company, which was launched in 2008.

The funding round could put Groupon's valuation at close to $8 billion, according to the venture capital news and information site VCExperts.com, which first reported on the new funding round on Tuesday.

Chicago-based Groupon declined to comment.

In early December, Google and Groupon reportedly reached advanced negotiations for the search company to buy the online coupon distributor. However, Groupon walked away from Google's reportedly $6 billion offer.

If the deal had gone through, it would have been Google's biggest acquisition to date, which made industry observers question whether the price was too elevated for a business that is already being mimicked by many competitors, including LivingSocial.

Groupon teams up with local merchants to offer deep discounts on their products. The twist is that a minimum number of Groupon members must commit to the deals before they become valid.

Groupon takes a commission from each deal. It has sold more than 18.1 million coupons so far. It employs about 3,000 staff in the US and abroad.

It raised $135 million in its latest funding round in April. Financial analysts forecast Groupon will end 2010 with about $500 million in revenue.


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