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After a Few Hiccups, Groupon Goes Public

Shares in the coupon company rose more than 30 percent their first day of trading

At times over the past several months, it seemed as though this day would never come, but Groupon is now a public company. 

The digital coupon giant kicked off its initial public offering on Friday with the highest web company IPO since Google went public in 2004. 

Shares at Groupon kicked off at $20 and rose over 30 percent to $26.11 during Nasdaq trading.

Also read: IPO Blues: Tech's Hot Summer Cools Off

The company briefly hit the $31 mark, but the company slipped quickly back down above that lofty height. 

The company raised $700 million compared to the $1.7 billion Google racked up in a much rosier financial time. Groupon is offering a mere 5.5 percent of outstanding shares to the public, giving it a valuation of $12.8 billion.

Also read: Groupon's Shaky Metrics Delay IPO

Yet getting to this point was messy. 

In the lead up to its IPO, analysts criticized Groupon for its accounting practices and questionable cash flow. Then the sizzling hot market for tech IPOs iced over last August as the European financial crisis led to chaos in the domestic stock market, forcing Groupon to delay its public debut. 

If Groupon starts soaring, it may only be keeping the water warm for the imminent public debt of social media gamer Zynga and social media titan Facebook.