Groupon's Debut: 5 Internet IPOs to Compare

Joel Anderson  |

With the fervor over Groupon's (GRPN) IPO reaching fever pitch, it may be valuable to take a quick look back at some of the other recent IPOs for other major websites to try and put Groupon in context.  It's been a busy year, with three major IPOs in May followed by another two over the course of the summer.

The much anticipated IPO for Linkedin (LNKD) in May this year saw shares spike from their initial asking price of $45 a share to $94.25 a share in the first day of trading.  The site, a social media network that allows users to define their professional identity in their profile, saw initial fervor dampen, though, as shares tumbled to a low of close to $60 apiece by mid June before spiking again to the 52-week high of $122.70 a share in mid July.  Linkedin has since leveled off and was trading at $87.50 a share with a market cap of $8.2 billion at market close Thursday.  However, the  release of its Q3 earnings report showed a loss of $0.02 a share against analyst expectations of breaking even, and the loss, Linkedin's first, sent the stock tumbling in after-hours trading.

Russian search engine giant Yandex NV (YNDX) initiated its IPO this May and cleared $1.3 billion in the first day, the biggest IPO for a dotcom since Google in 2004.  The company sold a 16.2 percent stake, 52.2 million shares, at a value of $25 apiece.  The stock immediately skyrocketed, though, jumping to $38.84 by the end of it's first trading day.  Yandex, which also offers a variety of internet services including maps, e-mail, and news, maintained a value close to $30 a share for most of the summer, peaking at $42 a share in late July, before it started to lose value.  After bottoming out at $17.53 a share in early September, the stock has since regained value, reaching $28.62 Thursday for a market cap of $9.24 billion.

Internet radio streamer Pandora Media, Inc. (P) has also seen ups and downs since its June 15 IPO.  Initially priced at $16 a share, Pandora saw a sell-off drop the stock in value to closer to $13 a share by mid-June.  It rebounded quickly and reached a peak of $26 a share by early July, but it went into a consistent slide en route to reaching lows of $9.33 a share in mid September. Now trading at close to $15.25 a share, Pandora has a market capitalization of $2.45 billion and is extending its reach to businesses and challenging industry giant Muzak, owned by Mood Media Corp. (MM.TSX).

The social media giant from China Renren, Inc. (RENN) started very strong with an IPO at $14 a share.  The company raised $740 million on sales of 53.1 million shares and saw the stock skyrocket to nearly $22 a share before closing at $18 in an IPO many viewed as a precursor to the highly anticipated Facebook IPO next year.  Renren, though, has seen the stock go into a steady decline since its May debut, losing 68.1 percent of its value and finishing trading on Thursday trading at only $5.74 a share for a market cap of $2.25 billion.  Renren is scheduled to report its quarterly earnings on November 10th and analysts are predicting that it will report a loss.

Seattle based real-estate valuation website Zillow, Inc. (Z) saw major gains on the first day of trading for its July 21st IPO.  The initial offer price of $20 ballooned 79% to $35.77 a share in the first day of trading.  However, like the other IPOs, the initial enthusiasm gave way to market realism and the stock plunged back to earth, dropping to a low of $23.43 a share by mid August.  After peaking at as high as $60 a share, Zillow evened out and settling into a price closer to $25 a share.  The stock was up over 11 percent in trading Thursday, pushing the value back over $30 a share, after a Q3 earnings report showed the company's loses dropping to $0.02 a share, a year over year improvement of nearly 70 percent.  With a market cap of over $840 million, Zillow has predicted that sales in 2011 will show a year over year improvement of more than double their 2010 numbers.

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