NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- No sooner had Groupon (GRPN) gone public, the company had to restate their earnings. A warning sign was slapped on their finances. This uncommon and alarming turn of events caused a batch of Wall Street analysts to downgrade the company severely while, curiously, several analysts remained bullish.
Looked at the proper way, this reveals volumes about how Wall Street operates.
Remarkably, though, many media outlets -- and, yes, Marketwatch, I'm giving you the hairy eyeball -- managed to write about this accounting train wreck without mentioning who Groupon's underwriters were. You don't think that the Wall Street analysts who put a smiley face on this disturbing news were (gasp!) the underwriters?! But that would mean that Wall Street hasn't changed a lick...not after the Internet bubble, not after the housing bubble, not after so many crackdowns, not after so many vows of change."Groupon: Underwriters Mostly Shrug, But BofA Cuts." That's a Wall Street Journal headline, which gets right to the dark heart of the matter. To its credit, Bank of America (BAC), though an underwriter, downgraded Groupon and took it to task. But Morgan Stanley (MS), Citigroup (C), JPMorgan (JPM) and others came to its defense. Morgan Stanley even termed it a "mild hiccup." Not even a standard hiccup. A "mild" one. For anyone who still believes in fairies and well-intentioned, ethical Wall Street firms keeping research and investment banking separate, it's worth a big old mention.
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