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Groupon Inc. (GRPN - Snapshot Report) reported a loss per share of 1 cent (including stock-based compensation but excluding acquisition related expenses) in the first quarter of 2013, which came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. When compared on a year-over-year basis, loss per share improved from the loss of 2 cents incurred in the year-ago quarter.

On a non-GAAP basis (excluding stock based compensation and acquisition related expenses) the company reported earnings of 3 cents.

Quarter Details

Groupon’s revenues not only increased 7.5% year over year to $601.4 million, but also came ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $598.0 million. Reported revenues were within management’s guidance range of $560 million-$610 million.

Region wise, revenues from North America were up 42.3% year over year to $339.6 million, while Groupon’s international revenues decreased 18.4% year over year to $261.8 million.

The strong year-over-year revenue growth was primarily due to the higher gross billing, which increased 3.9% year over year to $1.41 billion. This year-over-year growth can be attributed to a steady increase in the number of active customers (up 13.0% year over year), which stood at 41.7 million as of Mar 31, 2013.

The company reported that 45.0% of the transactions in North America were through mobile devices, which increased from 30% in the year-ago quarter. Moreover, more than 7 million people downloaded Groupon’s mobile apps during the quarter, which led to a robust mobile business. 

The company reported an operating income (excluding stock based compensation and acquisition related expenses) of $51 million, which decreased from $67.7 million in the year-ago quarter primarily due to investments in the international operations.

Groupon’s net loss (including stock based compensation but excluding acquisition related expenses) of $9.45 million narrowed from a loss of $11.7 million in the year-ago period. However, on a non-GAAP basis (excluding stock based compensation but excluding acquisition related expenses) the company reported a net profit of $16.9 million.

Groupon exited the first quarter with cash and cash equivalents worth $1.17 billion. Cash flow from operating activities was $8.8 million.

Outlook

For the second quarter of 2013, Groupon forecasts revenues to increase in the range of $575 million to $625 million, significantly lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $933 million.

Groupon expects operating income to be in the range of $20.0 million to $40.0 million for the next quarter. During the second quarter, Groupon expects to invest $15 million–$30 million to drive in new customer growth and an overall customer engagement.

Our Take

We believe that Groupon is well positioned to gain from the rising e-commerce spending on mobile devices, a profitable domestic market and an under-penetrated international market. We expect these opportunities to continue to drive top-line growth, going forward.

However, we believe that the market is getting more competitive due to the growing interest from technology stalwarts such as eBay (EBAY - Analyst Report), Amazon (AMZN - Analyst Report) and Google . Moreover, a volatile macroeconomic environment and continued investments to expand its merchant base are expected to impact results in the near term.

Currently, Groupon carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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