Groupon shares soars in public market debut

NEW YORK (AP) ? Groupon, the company that pioneered online group discounts, has begun trading as a public company.

The stock jumped nearly 50 percent in the opening minutes Friday.

The surge shows there’s insatiable demand for an Internet company whose business model is still considered unsustainable by some outsiders.

Chicago-based Groupon Inc. sends out frequent emails to subscribers offering a chance to buy discount deals for anything from laser hair removal to weekend getaways. The company then takes a cut of what people pay and gives the rest to the merchant.

On Thursday, the company priced its IPO at $20 per share. That was above its expected range of $16 to $18. It gave Groupon a market value of $12.7 billion, above only Google’s among tech companies.