Groupon's Q1 2012 Results Might be Misleading

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Groupon's shareholders must have been rejoicing over the company's most recent earnings report even though stock hasn't quite made it back up to the IPO pricing. In fact, it is the first quarter Groupon's statement has even reflected a profit.

Unfortunately, like many things, there's more to the story than meets the eye. The crew over at Business Insider have pointed out something that, if not studied carefully, could go unnoticed. The way they see it, Groupon has about $60 million on their books that doesn't really belong to them.

Take a look at Groupon's Revenue vs Expenses Chart from their 2012 Q1 report:

groupon earnings

Essentially it is true that Groupon has reduced operating costs and increased revenue, but there are other factors at play that may be misleading. For instance, Groupon has about $46 million in unpaid merchant accounts and another $13 something million in various other debts which are all being left out as far as debts go, and then being counted as cash on hand.

By Business Insider's calculations, this leaves Groupon about $60 million in debt unless revenue continues to rise at the same rate it did last quarter. This could be a serious threat to their livelihood, especially for a company whose business model is still evolving and could suffer countless other setbacks along the way.

By no means is this the definitive state at Groupon, but it does create a different interpretation of their most recent financial report. It's something to think about going forward in 2012. As always, we will keep you updated as Groupon continues to expand and grow their business.

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