Lloyd Blankfein Wants What Morgan Stanley Has: Groupon

By
Groupon shall be his! Photo: Chris Kleponis/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The tech industry is getting pretty covetous in its bullish little bubble. Google wanted what Groupon had (a leg up in the local deals market). Kleiner Perkins' John Doerr wanted what Union Square Ventures Fred Wilson had (investments in hot Internet properties like Twitter). And everyone wanted what Facebook had (for, like, a trillion different reasons). So there was no way Goldman Sachs was going to sit idly by while bankers like Morgan Stanley met with Groupon today to discuss its impending $15 billion IPO. After all, this could be the first gonzo IPO from the new crop of web companies, and Lloyd Blankfein would be damned if he was going to let his lesser rival see its name — and collect the fees — as the lead bookrunner on the deal. Not with the success of Goldman's Facebook deal seeping like pheremones from his pores. Bloomberg reports that the Goldman Sachs CEO stopped by Chicago today to pitch Groupon CEO Andrew Morgan on a possible share sale this year. The same source reiterated rumors that Morgan Stanley, an early investor in the deal site, is also in talks with Groupon to arrange its initial public offering. Seriously, Groupon rejecting Google's $6 billion offer was like negging the hot girl. Now everyone wants to know what so special about Groupon that it was able to resist.

The rivalry between Goldman and Morgan Stanley means it's unlikely either would do the deal together since that would mean one of them agreeing to be listed second. Business Insider says Goldman could have a leg up because of its favorite Russian billionaire Yuri Milner. Goldman was an early investor in Milner's venture capital firm, Digital Sky Technologies. And Milner led an investment round in Groupon last year and also helped introduce Goldman to Facebook. Also working in its favor: being Goldman. We're sure the charming young CEO of Groupon, Andrew Mason, isn't so self-effacing that he can't figure out how to play the fight for his attention in his startup's best interest.

Goldman Sachs CEO Blankfein Said to Visit Groupon to Pitch IPO [Business Week]
Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein Personally Pitches Groupon On Its IPO [BI]