Investors are Scoffing at Groupon’s New Self-Comparison

Many are scoffing at Groupon’s (GRPN) recent comparison of itself to Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). Groupon is trying to tout its alluring qualities on the eve of its initial public offering. According to regulatory filings, Groupon is trying to raise $540 million by selling 30 million shares at $16 to $18 a piece, however many analysts feel their claims are a bit lofty.

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Peter Sorrentino, a senior money manager at Huntington Asset Advisors in Cincinnati told Bloomberg that Amazon was better off at the time of its 1997 IPO than Groupon is now as Groupon is generating lower revenue per employee and spending more money on marketing than Amazon was. He continued commenting on Groupon’s self-comparison to Amazon by saying, “In terms of its progress toward a profitable enterprise, I think that’s a huge stretch.” For Groupon, “the beast is growing faster than its revenue stream, and you may be chasing profitability for a while.”

Jeff Holden, Groupon’s (GRPN) Senior Vice President of Product Management proclaimed in a webcast that “The parallels between Amazon and Groupon are amazing.” Analyst Kerry Rice from Needham and Co. counters the statement by saying “Like Groupon, Amazon was very much criticized for not making any money, and there were questions about whether it would ever make any money. That’s where the similarities end.”

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