Business

Groupon slide continues, stock falls below $3 in 29% plunge

Whatever is happening with Groupon Inc., investors don’t like it, sending the daily deals company’s stock to  another record low.

Shares fell below $3 for the first time Friday, hitting $2.75 a share from $3.92 a share Thursday after the Chicago company reported dour earnings that missed even its own forecasts. That’s a nearly 30% plunge.

Groupon had predicted that its revenue for the third quarter would come in between $580 million and $620 million. When the figure came in instead at $568.6 million, investors rebelled, even though the measure was up 32% from the year-earlier period.

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The company narrowed its quarterly loss to $3 million, or zero cents a share, from a loss of $54.3 million, or 18 cents a share, a year earlier. It said in its after-market earnings report on Thursday that it has $1.2 billion in cash and cash equivalents on hand and no long-term debt.

Last week, investors panicked as Groupon stock dropped below $4 a share for the first time in its short history. The company went public a year ago at $20 a share.

In a conference call with analysts on Thursday, Chief Executive Andrew Mason pleaded with investors to consider the strength of Groupon’s North American business, where it focuses its innovative efforts developing personalized deals.

The weak European economy, however, meant that Groupon “didn't have the necessary runway to integrate our international business before reaching a plateau in growth earlier this year,” Mason said.

He also stressed Groupon’s attempts to make its deals more visible on its website or through online searches, rather than just using email blasts to draw customers.  

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