Groupon Raises Nearly $1 Billion

After walking away from a Google buyout offer last year, group buying service Groupon announced that it has raised $950 million dollars in new venture funding.

The Chicago-based Groupon, dubbed by Forbes “the fastest growing company ever,” serves up steep daily discounts from local businesses that can only be redeemed if a certain number of users opt in to them. Since its launch in 2008, the company has attracted more than 50 million users, and grown by a whopping 2,500% in 2010.

Google reportedly offered $6 billion for the company at the end of last year. The new round of funding puts the company’s value at around $4.75 billion; in line with an estimate by NYPPEX, which estimates the value of privately held companies.

The company said that it would be using this latest round of investments to develop new technology, enter new markets, and pay out earlier investors and employees. The latest round of backers include Silicon Valley-based Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

“With their support, we will continue on our mission to change the way people shop locally and serve the world’s local businesses,” said Groupon CEO Andrew Mason in a statement.

Groupon has already made good on its promise to expand by buying SoSasta.com, a group buying site in India. The company began entering overseas markets last year, launching or buying group buying operations in 34 countries.

The high flying Groupon has also attracted institutional investors such as Fidelity Investments, T. Rowe Price, and Morgan Stanley, and could go public by the end of the year, according to the New York Times.

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