andrew mason

Groupon’s Fourth-Quarter Earnings (GRPN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/live-groupons-fourth-quarter-earnings-2013-2

andrew mason

Groupon just announced its fourth-quarter earnings!

Revenues were slightly below what analysts expected at $638 million.

Earnings were considerably lighter. Non-GAAP operating income, ignoring stock-based compensation, acquisition charged, and depreciation and amortization, was $29.7 million. Analysts were hoping for $41 million.

Groupon is holding a call with analysts at 5 p.m. Eastern. We’ll be listening in and taking notes live.

It’s a high-pressure time for CEO Andrew Mason, who is clearly under pressure to keep his job and show that the company can show predictable growth.

Groupon’s top rivals in the daily-deals space, LivingSocial, just raised $110 million in financing from existing investors on onerous terms that valued the company at far less than earlier financings.

And Google just made it far easier for all of its advertisers to do daily-deals and discounts alongside other online ad formats.

So the entire sector’s under pressure.

That said, Groupon stock has risen sharply since bottoming out at $2.60 in November. It’s up 8.3 percent today, closing above $6 for the first time since August.

Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia has set a $9 price target on the company. In a research ! note, he says that the figures to watch are:

  • whether the core daily-deals business turns around (it declined in the third quarter);
  • whether Groupon Goods, a direct-to-consumer e-commerce business, continues posting sharp growth;
  • and what happens with marketing costs, particularly spending on search ads.

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Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 digital No Comments

CHART OF THE DAY: The Chart That Could Get Groupon’s CEO Andrew Mason Fired (GRPN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-groupon-growth-2013-1

When Groupon first arrived on the scene, it was heralded for being the fastest growing company of all time.

There is, of course, a danger to being a fast growing company. It’s hard to predict if the incredible growth is just a fad, or something that can last in the long run.

In Groupon’s case, it’s looking like it was a fad. Bloomberg ran this chart which shows that Groupon’s core couponing business has stopped growing. To grow Groupon’s revenues overall, it’s going into a new line of business — Goods, which is like a traditional ecommerce company.

The collapse of Groupon’s couponing business has led chairman Eric Lefkofsky to consider firing CEO Andrew Mason in favor of finding a new executive who understands the new businesses Groupon will have to attack, says Doug MacMillan at Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

MacMillan says Mason has a few quarters to prove he can turn the company around.

chart of the day, groupon's coupons sale growth over the last six quarters, january 2013

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Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 news No Comments

Groupon’s Stock Is On Fire And No One Knows Why (GRPN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/groupon-stock-2012-12

Groupon is on tear today for some reason.

The stock was up as much as 24%, and we’re not sure why.

The only thing we can think of is that there’s new news about CEO Andrew Mason, but we haven’t heard anything.

grpn

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Friday, December 7th, 2012 news No Comments

1,000 Jobs Gone At Groupon And LivingSocial; Can The Daily Deal Sector Turn It Around? (GRPN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/layoffs-at-groupon-and-livingsocial-2012-11

Daily deals title image lifehackerThe daily deal world is in turmoil.

LivingSocial just announced the firing of 400 employees, which is about 8.9% of its total workforce.

What’s more unnerving is that over the past six months, Groupon reduced its workforce by 648 positions.

More than 1,000 reductions across both businesses is a huge deal. Those reductions aren’t all layoffs; some are through attrition.

To cap it all, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason’s job was in question all week, and he only received his board of directors’ seal of approval late Thursday.

If this was happening at Facebook or Twitter — or any other major tech brand — people would be freaking out.

So why isn’t anyone freaking out yet?

Arguably, this is a recession in the daily deal business.

It’s the industry’s first, given that it didn’t exist until about four years ago.

LivingSocial told Business Insider via email about the job cuts. “After two years of hyper-growth from 450 to more than 4500 employees, these moves will align our cost structure against our 2013 plans and will help us set the company on a path for long-term growth and profitability. Specifically, they will allow us to invest more in critical pr! iorities like marketing, mobile, and the hiring of additional technology staff.”

LivingSocial told CNNMoney that it is moving much of its customer service from its headquarters in D.C. to Tuscon, “so some job openings will be available in that area.” Sales and editorial, however, have simply been “streamlined.”

The job losses reflect the shaky economic underpinnings of the daily deal business, which Groupon and LivingSocial have yet to wrestle into control.

LivingSocial posted a net loss of $566 million in Q3 2012. $496 million of LivingSocial’s loss stems from a huge writedown of some of its acquisitions from 2011, the Washington Business Journal reports. LivingSocial’s revenue also fell to $124 million in the three-month period, down from $138 million in the second quarter.

As of market close today, Groupon’s stock price is currently sitting at $4.54, according to Yahoo Finance. The 52-week range is shocking: it reached a high of $25.84. That followed six months’ of shrinking total billings at the company. (Its American business is robust; the international arm less so.)

A Groupon spokesperson tells us that its layoffs were largely due to new technology the company invested in that made those jobs irrelevant. In fact, we’re told, Groupon has 200 job vacancies open across North America right now.

And, of course, the job cuts don’t mean that Groupon and LivingSocial are going to vanish tomorrow. They’re huge businesses after all. But they are cause for concern as they illuminate potential weaknesses in the daily deal ! business model.

The main problem is operational scale.

Both companies are dependent on large salesforces. It is very difficult for them to leverage operation scale: To sell more, they need to employ more people. Groupon historically has prided itself on the long-term relationships its salesforce builds with its merchants. They have struggled to leverage self-serve, turnkey sales the way Facebook has.

In fact, Groupon and LivingSocial aren’t even tech companies. Rather, they’re email companies. Although email is here to stay for a long time, the tidal shift among consumers is away from email to instant messaging, social media messaging, and mobile phone messaging. They need to pivot into alternate methods.

Groupon is trying just that, with Groupon Goods, which so far has been a success. And both companies need to do what Groupon says it is trying to do, which is replace human-to-human selling with tech that can increase each individual worker’s selling power.

Lastly, the downturn ask whether the daily deal business has hit one of its natural ceilings: new merchants. Both companies need a fresh supply of new merchants to offer more deals, or to re-up on repeated deals. It’s an open question that both Groupon and LivingSocial now have to prove: Is there enough new merchants or incremental repeat business from merchants for the sector to continue to grow?

A thousand-plus layoffs suggest that, for now, the question lacks a satisfying answer.

Don’t Miss: Groupon CEO Andrew Mason Keeps His Job!

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Friday, November 30th, 2012 news No Comments

Groupon Shares Suffer As eBay Enters The Daily Deals Business (EBAY, GRPN)

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/~3/Z_i5pA-wFn8/groupon-shares-suffer-as-ebay-enters-the-daily-deals-business-2012-10

andrew mason groupon

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 10 (Reuters) – EBay Inc has quietly launched an online marketplace for deals on local services, taking on Groupon Inc and expanding into a potentially big category.

Called eBay Lifestyle Deals, the offers are being run in a limited number of urban areas, including the San Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Recent deals included $12 for a one-hour dog-walking service worth $25; $50 for a month of Yoga classes worth $110; and $180 for six private gym sessions worth $360.

The move is potentially a big step for eBay, which has traditionally focused on products rather than services.

“We have a big marketplace and a lot of people who come to eBay don’t just come for one thing – they stay and buy across categories,” said Devin Wenig, president of eBay Marketplaces.

“It makes perfect sense to experiment with new categories, and services is one of these things. We’re seeing whether deals and services are attractive to our customers.”

EBay has teamed up with start-up Signpost, which arranges the deals with local merchants and posts them on a new section of eBay’s online marketplace, www.ebay.com/exp/lifestyle-deals.

Signpost, backed by Google Ventures, already provides deals for Google Offers, a rival to Groupon.

EBay plans to add more daily deal providers if the effort goes well.

“Signpost is a merchant, just like merchants selling physical goods on eBay,” Wenig said. “A merchant may sell local or even global servi! ces on e Bay in the future.”

BIA/Kelsey, which tracks the local media industry, expects U.S. consumer spending for online deals to reach $5.5 billion by 2016, up from $1.8 billion last year. That includes daily deals, and other discounted online sales channels, such as product deals and flash sales.

Groupon Chief Executive Andrew Mason has estimated the total local-commerce market is worth $3 trillion.

EBay has run daily deals on physical products for about two years, but this is its first foray into discounted services in the United States.

Groupon started the daily deal craze in late 2008 and quickly grew into a company with thousands of employees and well over $1 billion in annual revenue.

That growth attracted a lot of deep-pocketed rivals, such as Google Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Facebook Inc . However, growth has slowed recently as consumers tired of endless deals from multiple providers. Facebook shelved its first effort in the market last year.

Groupon shares have lost about three-quarters of their value since the company went public last year.

However, Google and Amazon have stuck with their daily deal businesses.

EBay shares rose 0.5 percent to $46.45 on Nasdaq at midday. (Reporting by Alistair Barr; Additional reporting by Phil Wahba in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

Copyright (2012) Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions

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Thursday, October 11th, 2012 news No Comments

Hard To See How Howard Schultz Quitting Groupon’s Board Is Anything But Lousy

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/howard-schultz-quits-groupons-board-2012-5

Howard Schultz

Groupon’s stock continued its implosion yesterday, as two high-profile board members quit the board.

Howard Schultz of Starbucks and Kevin Efrusy of investor Accel Partners bolted. Groupon replaced them with financial types from American Express and Deloitte.

Although the moves were spun as “adding financial experts to the board,” the real story is the departure of Schultz, who, at best, feels he has better things to do. (At worst, he’s fleeing a sinking ship before it takes him down with it.)

Another potentially interesting data point: The first Groupon executive quoted in the press release was not CEO Andrew Mason but Chairman Eric Lefkofksy. Perhaps Lefkofsky is reasserting control over the company?

Groupon’s stock crashed through $11 on the news, hitting a post-IPO low of ~$10.70. That gives it a market cap of about $7 billion, or about 3X this year’s revenue. That’s a far more reasonable valuation than the ridiculous $28 the stock hit on the morning of the IPO, but it’s still not a bargain-basement price. Given the uncertainty about what Groupon’s profit margin will eventually be, the stock could presumably trade at an even lower multiple.

We continue to think Groupon is building a real, viable business, and we expect that at some point it will move past this constantly-shooting-itself-in-the-foot phase. But Schultz’s departure is not encouraging.

SEE ALSO: No, I Still Wouldn’t Buy Groupon Stock

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Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 news No Comments

Groupon Needs To Be VERY Careful, Because The Sharks Are Circling (GRPN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/groupon-needs-to-be-very-careful-because-the-sharks-are-circling-2012-4


Diver Shark Attack

Groupon is bleeding in the water, and the sharks are circling.

On Friday, we learned that Groupon under reported the number of returns it had in Q4, and that the company had to revise its earnings.

Then Groupon’s auditor filed a “statement of material weakness,” basically telling the SEC it would not vouch for the company’s numbers.

Yesterday, the WSJ reported that the SEC is investigating the company.

That’s not all the company has to worry about. 

Institutional investors put big money into Groupon’s IPO.  

Since that day’s highs, the stock is down more that 50%. It tanked 16% yesterday alone.

If those institutions can blame somebody else for those losses and recoup any of their own investor’s money, they will.

That means if those investors catch even slight whiffs of fraud out of Groupon – and trust me, they are sniffing – the lawsuits and subpoenas will come in rapid succession.

Ever seen a shark frenzy?

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Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012 news No Comments

The SEC Is Looking Closely At Groupon, Says Report (GRPN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/uh-oh-the-sec-is-looking-closely-at-groupon-says-report-2012-4


Groupon sad girl

The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into why Groupon revised its first quarterly earnings report as a public company, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Groupon made the revision on Friday after market close, when the company discovered that a higher number of customers than usual returned their coupons unused in January, says the report. The revision increased Groupon’s loss by $22.6 million.

Groupon’s stock plunged almost 17% today.

The Journal reports that the company’s chief accounting officer Joe Del Preto discovered that the number of refunds in January was higher than all of Groupon’s models had predicted.

According to the Journal, Groupon did not have enough money in its reserves to cover the refunds.

The SEC has not launched a formal investigation, says the report. Groupon’s top execs have reportedly examined the situation and are confident that only certain types of coupons are being returned.

So this could all blow over and turn out to be no big deal. But drawing the attention of the SEC is never a good thing. Especially when Groupon had to amend its IPO filing twice after the SEC complained.

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Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012 news No Comments

Will Groupon Thrive Or Tank In Q4? This Chart Holds The Key (GRPN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/this-chart-tells-you-whether-groupon-will-thrive-or-tank-in-q4-2011-12


groupon girl

Groupon’s Q4 2011 couldn’t be more crucial: Will it see the revenue bump it needs from holiday shoppers to justify its business model? Or will sales collapse following CEO Andrew Mason’s promised pullback on marketing and customer acquisition spending?

The Wall Street Journal reports that gross billings at the company rose just 1.5 percent from September to October, and not 22 percent as previously estimated.

Has the company reached a plateau before falling of a cliff? Or is it merely taking a pre-Thanksgiving breather before continuing its climb up the Christmas sales ladder?

The company could go either way. Until recently, the company has been dependent on a cash float (and the money it raised in its IPO, of course) to stay in business. Groupon generally makes a loss each quarter. It funds its operations by taking revenues from customers’ credit cards immediately and then delaying for 30 days or so the share of those sales it owes to the merchants who made the offers. As long as there is a greater amount of new money coming in than old money owed, Groupon continues to function.

But what happens if Groupon enters a period in which its revenues decline? At most companies that isn’t too problematic — management can cut expenses to remain profitable. But at Groupon the company’s marketing and customer acquisition expenses are closely related to its revenues. It is not at all clear whether Groupon’s revenues will continue to rise if Mason cuts costs. ! Here’s a chart showing Groupon’s net revenues plotted against its total operating expenses:

groupon

As you can see, in Q3 Mason pulled back on expenses (the green line) in hopes of seeing a profit, but revenue growth (the red line) began to lose steam. The WSJ report suggests it hasn’t regained momentum since, but the October sales period doesn’t include the Christmas run-up.

In Q4, this chart is all you will need to understand whether Groupon can mature into a business that isn’t funded by stock sales. If Mason can get the red line above the green line, or if he can keep the red line moving upward, then he should be congratulated.

If he cannot, then the company — and its investors — will need to do some serious thinking about whether their daily deal business model is viable or not.

SEE ALSO: Groupon Allegedly Hacked Merchant’s Email To Alter Contract

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Monday, December 12th, 2011 news No Comments

This Bakery Had To Make 102,000 Cupcakes Because Of A Groupon Deal And Lost A Ton Of Money

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/london-baker-makes-102000-cupcakes-groupon-deal-2011-11


need a cake bakery

A London bakery recently experienced the worst-case scenario of offering a Groupon for a small business, and it cost the owner thousands (via NBC Chicago).

Need a Cake bakery owner Rachel Brown decided to put up a 75% discount on a dozen cupcakes on the site, which dropped the price down to $10 from $40.

Apparently, people really love getting cupcakes cheap, because she was rushed by throngs of customers in a cupcake frenzy. 8,500 people signed up, and her crew of eight had to make 102,000 cupcakes to meet the orders.

Brown lost $3 per batch because she had to hire 25 extra workers to help, and she ended up losing $20,000 because of it, which a ton for a small biz. It wiped out her profits for the year, reports the Daily Mail.

“Without doubt, it was my worst ever business decision,” she told the BBC. “We had thousands of orders pouring in that really we hadn’t expected to have. A much larger company would have difficulty coping.”

This is just the latest in Groupon small business horror stories. A story popped up in September about a Portland cafe losing $8,000 because of a Groupon, which prompted a personal letter from founder and CEO Andrew Mason.

It brings up the always-present question about the daily deals site: does Groupon suck for small businesses?

Well, it looks like most small businesses think so. An overwhelming majority of 70% hate Groupon, if the latest survey from iContact is to be believed.

As for Brown and her bakery, the experience may have cost her 20 grand, but what about all the exposure she’s getting for her store? Great, right? It doesn’t hurt, but it probably wasn’t worth the cost.

Small businesses like this bakery thrive on relationships with their local customers, not crowds of outsiders coming in to snatch up a free lunch.

Getting new customers is great, but in this case, the bakery rewarded the wrong customers. Those 8,500 people that rushed for the Groupon probably won’t be coming back to pay for the same cupcakes at quadruple the price.

Only those the store has nurtured relationships with for a long time (in Brown’s case, 25 years), should be the ones rewarded. They’re the ones that keep coming back for more.

NOW SEE: The 10 Largest Family Businesses In The US >

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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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