5.) Au Revoir Andrew Mason
Shares of daily deal site Groupon (GRPN) spiked 12% on the news of CEO Andrew Mason's expulsion last Friday. They added another 6% on Monday this week and 5% on Tuesday for good measure. Based on the stock's reaction, the market clearly sees Mason's departure as a step in the right direction.
Unfortunately, we here at the Dumbest Lab take the opposite view of Mason's ouster. His shareholders may be psyched to see him go after seeing Groupon's stock drop over 70% since the company's November 2011 IPO. Nevertheless, we remain saddened by his termination, even if it was widely anticipated.
Let's face it. He was totally crappy for them, but great copy for us.We'll miss Mason's infantile management approach, like the time last year when he was caught addressing his troops under the influence of alcohol. At one juncture in the town-hall style meeting, Mason was forced to stop and apologize, saying, "Sorry, too much beer." Actually, if we remember correctly, Andy's beer-swilling shenanigan was the final straw which led Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz to bolt Groupon's board. Boy, he must be glad he woke up and smelled the coffee before it was too late! We also recall fondly Mason's other miscues, like his idiotic Super Bowl commercial that poked fun at the Free Tibet movement, the ridiculous poetry on his blog, the multiple accounting restatements and the silly stir he caused at the Securities and Exchange Commission which endangered the company's IPO. Perhaps above all, we'll never forget -- as much as we'd like to -- that weird YouTube video he posted of himself doing yoga in his underwear. Well, maybe that yoga self-exploitation wasn't his biggest screw-up. Ask a Groupon shareholder right now and he or she will probably tell you Mason's decision to spurn Google's (GOOG) $6 billion offer for the company was his most memorable goof. At last check Groupon's market cap was just over half of that sum, and most analysts predict a whole lot of retrenchment ahead for the company featuring across the board firings, especially overseas. "After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I've decided that I'd like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding -- I was fired today," wrote Mason in his farewell letter to his troops. Ah, what a trooper! Tongue in cheek 'til the bitter end. Of course, unlike many Groupon employees waiting on their pink slips and meager severance packages, Mason can afford to be cheeky. He owns roughly 46 million shares, or 7% of the company, at last check. In other words, Mason's firing has been substantially profitable for him. Even if it is a major loss for us.
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