When Groupon co-founder and executive chairman Eric Lefkosky predicted the money-losing online coupon service would be “wildly profitable,” many observers wondered whether he’d run afoul of Groupon’s quiet-period ahead of its IPO. On Thursday, Groupon addressed the issue in a filing with the SEC, saying Lefkofsky “did not agree to be interviewed,” (was he forced?), and “requested that the statement not be published.” Lewfkofsky’s comment “should not be considered by prospective investors in isolation or at all.” Groupon also advised prospective investors to ignore press coverage about the company.
The kerfuffle started on June 3 when Lefkofsky, Groupon’s co-founder and biggest shareholder, made the comment to Bloomberg one day after Groupon announced its IPO plans.
“I’m going to be in technology for a long time,” Lefkofsky told Bloomberg. “I’m going to start a lot of companies. These are not sham companies. These are great businesses. InnerWorkings is profitable. Echo is profitable. Groupon is going to be wildly profitable.”
Never mind, Groupon said in Thursday’s filing:
You should not rely on a reported statement in a June 2011 news report by our co-founder and Executive Chairman in making your investment decision. You should rely only on statements made in this prospectus in determining whether to purchase our shares.
In a June 5, 2011 news story reported on Bloomberg.com, our co-founder and Executive Chairman was reported to have stated in a June 3, 2011 interview that “Groupon was going to be wildly profitable.” The story and reported statement has been reprinted in various news media outlets. Mr. Lefkofsky did not agree to be interviewed for the news story and, through representatives, requested that the statement not be published. 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. Prospective investors are cautioned to consider the risks and uncertainties disclosed in this Risk Factors section and elsewhere in the prospectus.
The company also warned prospective investors to ignore press coverage about the company when deciding whether to put money into the company.
You should carefully evaluate all of the information in this prospectus. 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. You should rely only on the information contained in this prospectus in determining whether to purchase our shares.
If you want to know more about Lefkofsky, try this article by respected tech reporter Kevin Kelleher. (Headline: The checkered past of Groupon’s chairman.)
In other news disclosed in the filing, Groupon apparently felt that it didn’t have enough bankers, despite enlisting Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse. So the company has brought on some additional help to underwrite the offering: J.P. Morgan Securities, Allen & Company, Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, William Blair & Company, Citadel Securities, Loop Capital Markets, RBC, and The Williams Capital Group.