In early June, Groupon filed paperwork to go public, reporting operating income of $60.6 million for 2010 and $81.6 million for the first quarter of this year. Then on Wednesday, the daily deals darling revised its earlier filing, following criticism that it used some rather unusual accounting practices to avoid mentioning the tremendous costs it had incurred building its base of subscribers. With those pesky expenses taken into account, the company reported a $420 million loss for 2010 and a $117.1 million loss for the first quarter of 2011. In the second quarter of 2011, Groupon had a record $878 million in sales but still lost $102.7 million. Does this "startling turnabout" spell doom for Groupon's IPO, which had been expected to raise $750 million and value the company at $30 billion?
Groupon is certainly not as attractive as it once was: "Groupon's path toward an IPO is no longer a cakewalk," says Garett Sloane in the New York Post. These new financial revelations take some of the sheen off the tech darling. Given the newness of the daily deals market, it's uncertain if Groupon's eye-popping expenditures are one-time costs, or if the company will keep overspending to woo new customers and keep old ones. Meanwhile, the volatile stock market isn't exactly a friendly environment for IPOs, further stacking the deck against Groupon.
"SOS goes out for Groupon IPO"
Since when do investors care about a tech company's profits? "Groupon has never turned a profit, but investors seem to be shrugging off the red ink from tech startups' IPOs this year," says Julianne Pepitone at CNN Money. Just look at LinkedIn, Fusion-io, and Pandora. All recently went public, and all saw their shares do well. But none of those companies is actually turning profits. Apparently, Groupon's just following the trend.
"Groupon updates IPO filing, admits it's unprofitable"
Groupon could be nearing bankruptcy: At the rate it's burning cash, Groupon might not be able to stay afloat for long, says Jim Edwards at BNET. Even it it does raise $750 million with its IPO, that might barely be enough to pay the bills. And it certainly won't be enough to "generate a cushion of cash on which the company could float for several years until it sorts its business model out."
"Look how close Groupon is to going bankrupt"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Alien conspiracy theorists think the government is on the verge of spilling big secrets
- In defense of Gwyneth Paltrow
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Republicans love this new health care plan. Too bad it's basically a tax cut for the rich.
- Chuck Hagel wasn't the problem. It's America's addiction to endless war.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
Subscribe to the Week