Groupon adds 11 underwriters, new risk warning

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:16pm EDT

An online coupon sent via email from Groupon is pictured on a laptop screen November 29, 2010 in Los Angeles. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

An online coupon sent via email from Groupon is pictured on a laptop screen November 29, 2010 in Los Angeles.

Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Groupon Inc, the largest online daily deals company, has added 11 new underwriters for its upcoming initial public offering.

The additions mean 14 banks are now working on the offering. In 2004, when Google Inc went public, it had 10 banks underwriting its offering, according to regulatory filings.

Groupon also added new information to the risk section of its IPO filing, telling prospective investors to ignore recent comments by co-Founder Eric Lefkofsky about the company's future profitability.

JPMorgan, Allen & Co, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, Citigroup Inc, Deutsche Bank Securities, William Blair & Co, Citadel Securities, Loop Capital Markets, RBC Capital Markets and the Williams Capital Group, were added as underwriters, according to an updated regulatory filing late on Thursday.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Credit Suisse Ltd were the lead underwriters named on Groupon's original IPO filing on June 2.

Groupon is hoping to raise $750 million from its IPO, capitalizing on investor interest in the booming online daily deals industry. Groupon also said it will not need any of the money it gets from the IPO to fund operations during the next 12 months.

A few days after its original IPO filing, Bloomberg News quoted Lefkofsky saying that: "Groupon was going to be wildly profitable," the company said.

"The reported statement does not accurately or completely reflect Mr. Lefkofsky's views and should not be considered by prospective investors in isolation or at all," Groupon said in its updated IPO filing.

"We have in the past and may continue to receive, a high degree of media coverage, including coverage that is not directly attributable to statements made by our officers and employees, incorrectly reports on statements made by our officers or employees, or is misleading as a result of omitting to state information provided by us or our officers or employees," Groupon added.

"You should rely only on the information contained in this prospectus in determining whether to purchase our shares."

Under Securities and Exchange Commission rules, company officials cannot talk publicly about their company ahead of an IPO.

The snafu recalls a similar media blunder by Google in the lead-up to its stock-market debut. Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin gave an interview to glamour magazine Playboy a few days before Google announced its IPO on April 29, 2004. The article prompted an SEC inquiry, according to the Wall Street Journal.

(Reporting by Alistair Barr; editing by Robert MacMillan and Andre Grenon)

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