LivingSocial seeks $400 million in funding

December 8, 2011 - 1:51 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — LivingSocial, the No. 2 online deals site behind Groupon, plans to raise $400 million in a private offering that will likely give it a cushion to put off an initial public offering.

Washington, D.C.-based LivingSocial Inc. said in a regulatory filing Wednesday that it has already raised $176 million of the planned amount. This is the sixth round of private funding by the company, which most recently raised $400 million in April.

A person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly about the offering said the latest round of funding will be used to expand LivingSocial's operations, including hiring. None of the money is going to current investors who are cashing out, this person added.

Published reports say the offering values the company at about $6 billion. Groupon Inc., which went public in early November, is valued at more than $14 billion. Its stock price has fluctuated wildly since its IPO, but on Thursday it was trading at $22.58, a 13 percent premium to its IPO price.

Like Groupon, LivingSocial makes money by offering deals from local and some national businesses to its customers. These range from spa treatments and pedicures to restaurant meals and messenger bags. Once the deals are purchased, the company takes a cut before paying the merchant.

To grow its business, LivingSocial has been expanding its offerings beyond daily discounts to tailored experiences such as gourmet cooking classes and tastings, weekend escapes and food ordering services.

Amazon.com Inc. is among LivingSocial's current investors.