GOOG), Yahoo ( YHOO) and Amazon ( AMZN), on the heels of the company's Q3 earnings results, investors have come to terms with their worst fear -- things are only going to get much worse.
It seems the bottom has started to fall out of what was once a very promising concept. For Groupon, growth of 81% in North America is just not enough to sustain a model standing on feeble fundamentals as evident by an almost 50% drop in free cash flow -- falling from almost $50 million in Q2 to $26.1 in the recent quarter. Yet, some investors wish to look at the light at the end of the tunnel. That's all well and good, but investors have to realize that for the stock to work, the company must be able to show exactly how it will ever earn a profit despite having little to no competitive leverage. For these reason, it is hard to see how a bankruptcy filing is not in Groupon's future. What's more, the company's extremely low profit margin will make it a very unattractive acquisition candidate. Likewise, its business model would cost little to nothing to duplicate. These realities have caused analysts to rush to downgrade the stock, including William Blair who recently to lowered his rating on the stock to market perform.