The Fiscal Horrors of the Groupon IPO

The Groupon IPO filing is delightful! It’s an enormous, amazing business.

We increased our subscriber base from 152,203 as of June 30, 2009 to 83.1 million as of March 31, 2011.

We sold 116,231 Groupons in the second quarter of 2009 compared to 28.1 million Groupons in the first quarter of 2011.

We grew from 37 employees as of June 30, 2009 to 7,107 employees as of March 31, 2011.

That’s incredible! Also? Net loss, before taxes, for all of 2010? $456 million. They lost $146 million last quarter. So yes, last year they lost more than half the value of this year’s planned $750 million IPO. Sure, some of that was acquisition, but… what??? (Also: $750 million equals just about one year’s worth of operating expenses there.)

This is a company that already sold shares to third-party investors for $946 million in cash. (Where did that go? “Almost all of it went right back out the door, to employees and early investors.”

(Also? The outgoing CEO’s pay? “At his own recommendation to the compensation committee, Mr. Mason’s base salary for 2011 was reduced to $575, effective January 1, 2011.” Eh, he also has $10 million in common stock, don’t worry about him.)