Groupon Whiffs, Shares Dive

Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) reported third-quarter 2012 earnings after markets closed today. For the quarter, the daily deals company posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of zero on revenues of $568.55 million. In the same period a year ago, the company reported an EPS loss of $0.18 on revenues of $430.16 million.Third-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.03 and $590.12 million in revenues.

The company's third quarter gross billings totaled $1.22 billion, below the $1.3 billion expected by some analysts. Gross billings are the dollar value of sales less taxes and estimated refunds. The company is currently being quizzed by the SEC on its method for estimating future refunds.

The company's CEO said:

Our solid performance in North America was offset by continued challenges in Europe. Groupon Goods has evolved into a second major category that our customers clearly love. With deals on everything from designer sunglasses to big-screen televisions to most-wanted toys, we think it will be a great gifting destination this holiday season.

The company said that it expects fourth quarter revenues of $625 to $675 million and operating income from zero to $20 million. The outlook includes about $30 million in stock-based compensation. The company expects to make no acquisitions in the fourth quarter.

Earlier this afternoon the company confirmed that it was firing about 80 workers from its 12,000+ workforce.

The company's shares are down 12.5% in after-hours trading today, at $3.43, which would be a new 52-week low if it holds through tomorrow's open. The current 52-week range is $3.68 to $26.90. The consensus target price for the shares was around $7.20 before today's report.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Earnings, HI/LOW, Internet Tagged: featured, GRPN