Groupon Knows it Has Some Serious Work to Do


People seem to be gunning for Groupon: whether it be writers declaring the company is on the "road to bankruptcy," commenters saying things we can't print here since this is a family website, or sites going off half-cocked, declaring Groupon's app temporarily disappearing from the store meant it was giving up. (The app was temporarily taken down to fix a bug.)

But the fact is, Groupon knows things are bad. And it's doing everything it can to turn the old ship around. And we're talking about a steam tanker here, not a nimble ninja of a company. It'll take some time before we start seeing results. But for what it's worth, the Tribune recently had a lengthy interview with Groupon Chairman Eric Lefkofsky, which has a portion where he talks about the things they've done wrong. 

There were certainly some bumps in the IPO process, and some bumps in us being public. And you always look back and say, 'What did you learn from that experience?' But at the end of the day, when you're going public, you have all of these people around the table: Investment bankers and attorneys, accountants and your team. And you're trying to write this document, this S-1. You're trying to do the best job you can. 

In our case, we were fortunate to have Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs; all these fantastic bankers, lawyers and accountants (were) around the table. You try to anticipate what people want to read that tells the story. So when something goes wrong and you get a reaction from the SEC (the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) and the public that something you came up with is confusing, you learn from it.

If you ask me, it sounds like Groupon is doing what it can but isn't dwelling on the past. It's a tight-rope situation, to be sure: If you look down, you're gonna fall, so it's best to keep pressing on and maintain your balance. and break down some of Groupon's biggest problems, though one of them has already been addressed: Its head of international business, Marc Samwer recently stepped down, and in his place is Veit Dengler. Groupon says the shift in personnel was "long planned."

Another big problem for Groupon that still hasn't been addressed is its sinking stock, which as of press time is at $12.58. But hopefully that too will be revived in time.

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.

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