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Groupon Files for $750 Million IPO

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Groupon should be very flattered.

Groupon, the pioneer of the group coupon craze, filed its S-1 form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today.

According to the filing, Groupon is aiming to raise $750 million from the IPO. The deal is being underwritten by Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs.

Groupon Founder, Andrew Mason noted in the S-1 that to date, Groupon has offered over 1,000 daily deals to 83 million subscribers, in only 30 months of operation. Mason detailed his vision for the company in a letter at the beginning of the S-1, in it he noted that he has an aggressive plan for future growth.

"Expect us to make ambitious bets on our future that distract us from our current business," Mason stated. "Some bets we'll get right, and others we'll get wrong, but we think it's the only way to continuously build disruptive products."

Mason added that Groupon is an unusual company and that's the way it's likely to stay.

"Life is too short to be a boring company," Mason wrote. "Whether it's with a deal for something unusual, such as fire dancing classes, or a marketing campaign such as Grouspawn, we seek to create experiences for our customers that make today different enough from yesterday to justify getting out of bed."

Mason has good reason to be optimistic. Though the online group buying market is full of competitors, Groupon has emerged as one of the leading brands.

According to research firm Experian Hitwise, Groupon.com, by market share of U.S. visits, is the 64th most visited site in the US (out of 1mm+) for the week ending May 28th. Experian Hitwise also noted that Groupon.com captured 76 percent of visits among a category of 81 Group Buying sites for the week ending May 28th.

"If you're thinking about investing, hopefully it's because, like me, you believe that Groupon is better positioned than any company in history to reshape local commerce," Mason wrote. "As with any business in a 30-month-old industry, the path to success will have twists and turns, moments of brilliance and other moments of sheer stupidity. Knowing that this will at times be a bumpy ride, we thank you for considering joining us."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.