You don't have to be a Wall Street Kid to know that Groupon's stock being in single digits -- $9.97 as of press time -- isn't good. Then again, it's all about perspective and perception.
Those who subscribe to the notion that buying low, selling high -- we'll call them uninformed optimists -- might think now is the perfect time to buy. But Groupon has had its slippery slope of problems for quite some time now, and the reason its stock has taken such a beating is those problems are no small apples.
Accounting restatements, lawsuits and a serial inability to comply 100 percent with advertising standards internationally are far from things that instill confidence in a company for its workers and customers. And the stock reflects that.
Groupon knows this. There's been a marked shift in CEO Andrew Mason's tone. He's come a long way from strutting around in front of a Christmas tree in his underwear. As Sunday Telegraph Business Editor Kamal Ahmed, who recently interviewed Mason, points out:
In one interview last year, Mason was described as wearing a grey T-shirt that looked like it had been pulled from the laundry basket that morning. Today, Mason is wearing a crisply-ironed white shirt. It looks pretty new.
As I said, though, Mason is singing a vastly different tune. From the aforementioned interview:
"This business is a daily street fight. That is part of what has made Groupon great. It is something very difficult to bolt on if your DNA is that of a pure technology company. Also, it is difficult to bolt on 'technology' to any other type of business and that has been proved time and again over the years.
We've known for quite some time now Groupon's got a rough ride ahead. Now that Groupon is clued in, though, it remains to be seen whether it's too little too late.
David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a columnist for EGM. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.