Groupon shares leap 28 percent as comeback effort accelerates

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Aug 8, 2013 11:22am EDT

People enter and leave Groupon Inc corporate office and headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, November 4, 2011. REUTERS/Frank Polich

People enter and leave Groupon Inc corporate office and headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, November 4, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Frank Polich

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Shares in Groupon Inc (GRPN.O) soared as much as 28 percent on Thursday, chalking up their biggest one-day gain after the once-struggling Internet discounts website showed signs its turnaround effort was gaining momentum.

The five-year-old company, which announced a $300 million share repurchase program on Wednesday, reported a better-than-expected 7 percent jump in second-quarter revenue as sales in the United States and Canada climbed 45 percent.

With its daily deals business model in steep decline, Groupon has tried to re-invent itself as a more traditional e-commerce business that sells long-term deals, particularly through its smartphone app. But that gets the company deeper into a hotly contested market dominated by Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and eBay (EBAY.O).

Eric Lefkofsky, who was named CEO on Wednesday, has pushed a more mobile-centric strategy since the company fired his fellow founder Andrew Mason in February. Mason had presided over a precipitous share price decline, to below $5 from its $20 debut in 2011.

Several brokerages including Credit Suisse, UBS and JP Morgan raised their price targets on the stock on Thursday. The shares surged to a high of $11.18 and were up 27 percent at $11.06 in late morning trade.

(Reporting by Edwin Chan; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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