Groupon could be staging a successful turnaround, but investors are still wary.
The company solidly beat fourth quarter earnings estimates with revenues of $925 million and non-GAAP earnings of $0.06. Analysts predicted revenues of $908 million on earnings per share of $0.01.
And yet, in after-hours trading, the stock was down nearly 2 percent. In fact, Groupon’s stock has been on the decline since the beginning of 2014.
For the last couple of years, Groupon has been trying to shift away from its core business selling daily deals to consumers — a difficult feat for any company. This has led to investments in mobile payments and restaurant reservations as well as travel-booking and event tickets. As a result, North America gross billings saw 20 percent growth across local deals, goods, and getaways.
During the earnings call, CEO Eric Lefkofsky said the company is further diversifying. In 2015 it will roll out a suite of payment and marketing tools for merchants to help drive customer acquisition. Already the company has started giving merchants access to beacon technology, so they can send out targeted mobile deals to customers. Lefkofsky also mentioned the development of a new payment option for consumers.
Groupon has also put effort into international expansion, most notably through its acquisition of South Korean event-ticketing site Ticket Monster.
The company purchased the Ticket Monster a year ago in an attempt to grab a larger share of the market in Asia. The purchase has certainly delivered on its promise of international growth. Though the company suffered some losses due to foreign exchange rates, Groupon saw 154 percent increase in billings in Asia in the fourth quarter.
Ticket Monster also stands to benefit Groupon in other ways. It’s considering selling off portions of Ticket Monster. Already, Goldman Sachs is eyeing a potential stake in the company, according to the Korea Times. But for now, the company is not disclosing any information about those deals.
“Multiple parties have expressed preliminary interest in Ticket Monster, although it is too early to comment on structure, pricing or the likelihood of a transaction, as the process is still underway,” the company said in a statement.
But all of this news looks good for Groupon’s long-term growth. So why is the company’s stock down?
In its outlook for 2015, Groupon noted that the company may exhibit less-than-favorable revenue in the first quarter due to foreign exchange rates. It expects revenue in the range of $750 million to $840 million. If it lands in the lower end of that spectrum, the company’s year over year growth will be next to nothing. And earnings are worse. Groupon is expecting earnings per share of $0 to $0.02 in the first quarter.
It says the year will get better, but it may not be enough to convince investors. Overall, the company expects year-over-year growth of 25 percent from 2014 to 2015 — the same growth it experienced in the last year.
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