* Groupon pulls off IPO by cutting valuation, float
* Stock debut strong; long-term outlook less clear
By Alistair Barr and Clare Baldwin
Nov 4 (Reuters) – When Groupon Inc filed its plan to go public with U.S. regulators in June, Chief Executive Andrew Mason proclaimed in a letter to prospective shareholders that “life is too short to be a boring company.”
In the months that followed, the daily deals website, which offers discount coupons for local shops and services, was anything but boring as a series of blunders threatened its initial public offering.
Groupon changed its accounting twice under pressure from regulators, lost its chief operating officer, and faced questions over whether CEO Andrew Mason was too unpredictable for Wall Street after a sensitive internal memo was leaked.
“Not boring and bordering on insane,” said Scott Sweet of research firm IPO Boutique. “I’ve done more than 10,000 IPOs and secondary offerings over 39 years and this one is up there among the most tortured.”
Amid plunging stock markets, Groupon delayed the IPO in September, then it slashed the size and valuation before embarking on a roadshow last month to woo investors.
Groupon finally debuted on Nasdaq on Friday. A tiny 5.5 percent flotation helped shares jump more than 30 percent, valuing the company at nearly $17 billion.
That scarcity helped Groupon get the deal done but analysts warned the stock could come under pressure down the road, if venture capital investors try to sell their holdings, or the company runs into bumps on the road to profitability.