Groupon profit beats estimates on North America growth

Thu Nov 7, 2013 6:14pm EST

Groupon Chief Executive Andrew Mason poses with his newly married wife, pop musician Jenny Gillespie, outside the Nasdaq Market following his company's IPO in New York November 4, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Groupon Chief Executive Andrew Mason poses with his newly married wife, pop musician Jenny Gillespie, outside the Nasdaq Market following his company's IPO in New York November 4, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Daily coupon website Groupon Inc's (GRPN.O) third-quarter profit beat analysts' estimates as strong growth in North America helped offset a decline in international revenue.

Groupon shares were up nearly 8 percent in extended trading after sliding more than 10 percent.

Revenue from North America, Groupon's fastest growing region, grew 24 percent, though revenue from EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) fell 21 percent in the three months ended September 30.

Gross billings — a key metric that reflects the gross amounts collected from customers, increased 10 percent to $1.34 billion in the quarter.

More than half of Groupon's transactions in North America and more than 40 percent of global transactions were from mobile devices, the company said.

Nine million people downloaded Groupon's mobile application in the third quarter, the company said. Active customers grew 10 percent year-over-year to 43.4 million.

With its core, emailed daily deals business model in steep decline over the past year, the Chicago-based company in recent months has re-invented itself as a more traditional e-commerce business that sells long-term deals through its smartphone app.

Revenue from Europe was down as the company invested more to expand the number of merchants the company partners with, Chief Financial Officer Jason Child told Reuters.

Child said he expects revenue from Europe to turn positive in the coming quarters.

Europe has been a particular problem for Groupon, partly because the sovereign debt crisis has dented demand for higher-priced deals.

Groupon has been trying to revive a sluggish European business, while juggling the fast-rising cost of ensnaring new customers, and merchants to partner on Internet coupons for everything from spa treatments to fine dining.

The Chicago-based company also said it agreed to buy rival e-commerce company LivingSocial Inc's South Korean unit, Ticket Monster, for $260 million in cash and stock.

The company forecast fourth-quarter revenue of $690 million-$740 million, largely lower than analysts expectations of revenue of $723.7 million.

Third-quarter loss narrowed to $2.6 million, or breakeven per share, from $3 million, or breakeven, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company — which competes against LivingSocial, Amazon.com (AMZN.O), eBay (EBAY.O) and Google (GOOG.O) in a crowded and fiercely competitive e-commerce marketplace — earned 2 cents per share.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $595.1 million. Analysts had expected $615.69 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of the company closed at $9.50 on Thursday on Nasdaq. They have risen 93 percent so far this year.

(Refiles to add dropped word "to" in paragraph 8)

(Reporting by Soham Chatterjee; Editing by Joyjeet Das)

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