Groupon’s shares fell more than 30% in pre-market trading Wednesday on news of a CEO change, a mixed third-quarter report, and weak guidance for the upcoming holiday season.
The e-commerce marketplace reported revenues for the third quarter were flat at $714 million compared to a year ago, missing analysts’ estimates. Earnings met expectations at 2 cents per share.
Groupon also said it expects fourth-quarter sales of between $815 million and $865 million, and earnings per share between a penny gained and a penny lost — well below Wall Street estimates of between $900 million and $1 billion in revenues and EPS of 5 cents and $1.12.
“For the most part, third-quarter earnings were in line with Street estimates, but the big surprise came from what the company had to say about what to expect in the fourth quarter,” 24/7 Wall St. commented.
Groupon’s stock opened at $2.81 on Wednesday after dropping more than 30% in pre-market trading. It had rebounded slightly to $2.92 later in the day.
“The fall in Groupon’s share value may lead some to wonder once again whether Groupon is a takeover target,” TechCrunch said.
On the management front, Groupon announced Tuesday that CEO Eric Lefkofsky would be stepping down. Chief Operating Officer Rich Williams will take over as CEO, while Lefkofsky will return to the role of chairman, effective immediately.
According to the company’s earnings call, Williams’ plans include more investment in customer acquisition and cutting more international operations, including possibly layoffs or closures in certain markets.
For the third quarter, Groupon’s gross billings — the total dollar value of customer purchases of goods and services — was $1.47 billion, down from $1.49 billion a year ago. While active customers were up 4% to 48.6 million as of Sept. 30, the amount they are spending is going down, with the billings per average active customer now at $132 versus $137 a year ago.
Once valued at nearly $18 billion, Groupon “has seen its core business of daily deals … hammered,” TechCrunch said, adding that its moves into newer business areas “are not yet translating into significant customer and sales lifts for the company.”