The company provides a way for users to purchase deeply discounted vouchers for use at local businesses such as restaurants and salons and in my case auto detail and even vacations. It seems that this was enough to get investors excited about its IPO prospects. But clearly it was a mistake.
The company first opened for trading on Nov. 4 at $20, reached its all-time high of $31.14 and closed its first session respectably at $26.11. Then immediately it seems panic set in as the stock quickly dropped to the low teens of $14.85 only a few weeks later. It seems investors had some doubts then.
What the market quickly realized is that not only are the company's chances of earning a profit more in doubt, but competition is exceptionally fierce among existing titans such as Google (GOOG), Amazon (AMZN) and the aforementioned Facebook as well as a rejuvenated Yahoo (YHOO).
The chief concern among investors today is that it would take little to no investment at all from any of these names to launch a competing product to squash Groupon's chances of survival. As with Facebook, its business model was relatively new but investors placed more value on the idea rather than the execution.
Furthermore, Groupon continues to deal with a large percentage of disgruntled clients that have gotten unhappy with their deals and demanding refunds.
Bottom LineFor these reason, it would be a huge surprise if there is not a bankruptcy filing by this time next year from Groupon. Moreover, I don't see it becoming an acquisition target either because, as noted, not only does it lack any competitive advantage but it's extremely low profit margin all but assures a path towards obscurity. Not to mention it would cost nothing to recreate (from scratch) what Groupon currently has. On that note, a couple of years ago Google reportedly put up a bid to buy Groupon for $6 billion dollars -- the company turned it down. Do you think they are regretting this decision today? Follow @rsaintvilus At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL. This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
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