* Shares plunge 17 pct after-hours
* Europe wallops business, results disappoint
* Daily deal company lays off 80 employees
(Adds background Groupon's recent struggles)
By Alistair Barr
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 8 Groupon Inc's
results again fell short of Wall Street's already-cautious
expectations as the daily deal company failed to turn around a
struggling European business, sending its shares to a record
Groupon also confirmed on Thursday that it cut about 80
employees, mainly in sales, as part of an effort to automate and
streamline the way its daily deals are sourced and distributed.
The company's shares slid to a record low of $3.25 in
after-hours trading on Thursday, down 17 percent from their
closing price of $3.92.
The darling of investors during last year's consumer dotcom
IPO boom, Groupon has now shed four-fifths of its value since
its public trading debut.
Wall Street has grown increasingly uneasy about the
viability of its business as daily deals fever wanes among
consumers and merchants, and as previously strong growth rates
Adding to the difficulties, the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission has been inquiring into Groupon's accounting and
disclosures, an area of controversy during its initial public
Groupon's third-quarter revenue was $568.6 million, compared
with $430.2 million in the year-ago period. Analysts were
expecting revenue of $590 million, according to Thomson Reuters
It posted a quarterly net loss of $3 million, or zero cents
per common share, compared with a net loss of $54.2 million, or
18 cents a share, in the third quarter of 2011.
Consolidated segment operating income, or CSOI, was at just
over $50 million in the third quarter. Groupon forecast
fourth-quarter CSOI between $30 million and $50 million.
Sameet Sinha, an analyst at B. Riley & Co, was expecting
CSOI of $65.7 million in the third quarter and $67.7 million in
the fourth quarter.
"CSOI was a big miss and Europe is taking it on the chin,"
Andrew Mason, chief executive of Groupon, said on Thursday
that a "solid performance" in North America was offset by
"continued challenges" in Europe.
International revenue, which includes Europe, grew 3 percent
to $277 million in the third quarter. North American revenue
surged 80 percent to $292 million.
Europe has been a particular problem for Groupon, partly
because the sovereign debt crisis has dented demand for
higher-priced deals. Groupon was also offering steeper
discounts, turning off some European merchants.
(Reporting By Alistair Barr; editing by Gary Hill, Andre Grenon
and Matthew Lewis)