Groupon has the same problems, even with Andrew Mason out as CEO

February 28, 2013
February 28, 2013

Well, that didn’t take long. Groupon just announced that it replaced CEO and co-founder Andrew Mason just a day after the company reported disappointing earnings that sent its stock into free fall. After falling another 24% today, Groupon’s stock went up by more than 6% in after-market trading immediately after the announcement.

But the optimism may be misplaced.

Groupon said executive chairman Eric Lefkofsky and vice chairman Ted Leonsis have been appointed to the newly created Office of the Chief Executive, while the board kicks off a CEO search.

Given Mason’s past behavior—a video of himself touting a monkey-renting business is among his classics—he was an easy person to blame, and his maturity, or lack of it, was definitely an issue. But Groupon’s business model itself is also in question. Groupon revenues missed Wall Street estimates, while it reported a fourth quarter loss of 12 cents per share. The company faced lower margins, increasing marketing costs, and was forced to share the wealth more with its merchants.

Combined with competition from Living Social and Amazon Local Deals, among others, and you start to get a sense of why Groupon has lost much of its value since it went public in 2011.

So even with Mason gone, Groupon’s problems may not be over.

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