Groupon Insiders Sell Shares, Stock Sharply Drops

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Groupon Insiders Sell Shares, Stock Sharply Drops

For Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN), it reached a new chapter in its history as a public company on Friday as insiders were allowed to sell their stock; they enthusiastically embraced it.

Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) shares dropped 8.7 percent to $9.72 early on Friday and continues falling at the time of this writing.

In November, the company went public at $20 per share. Friday’s decline came from the expiration of the insider lockup agreement. This is the period after an IPO that doesn’t allow insiders to sell their stock, usually six months. For Groupon insiders, it was expiration day on Friday as noted by the Chicago Tribune.

Groupon insiders hold about 600 million shares or 93 percent of the total outstanding shares. The company’s co-founders Andrew Mason (also CEO), Eric Lefkofsky, and Brad Keywell, have said they are committed to keeping their shares the Chicago Tribune said, after noting recent comments by Mason from an investor conference.

The lock-up had originally been scheduled for May 2, but the company gave it the June 1 extension after restating  its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings at March’s end.

With Friday’s flurry of selling activity, it shouldn’t come as a surprise given the recurring troubles at Groupon. The company faces increased competition for its rivals, questions from the Securities and Exchange Commission and was on watch for its recent May 14 earnings report.

The company did report $559.3 million in revenue during its first quarter 2012, representing an 89 percent year-over-year gain. It also saw the total amount of money collected from customers for Groupons sold (excluding taxes and estimated refunds) rise 103 percent to $1.35 billion from $668.2 million from the same quarter in 2011, according to TechCrunch.

The company did exceed analysts’ expectations for the quarter but it still incurred a $0.02 per share loss.

With the race for insiders to dump Groupon shares, it may foreshadow the future for Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and its insiders after their lockup period. It will be shorter time span as a large amount will go free after only 90 days, reported CNet. The stock is also expected to take a hit from insider sales as Groupon has on Friday.

Facebook has had its share of problems in the last few weeks but it ended the month of May on a high note, rallying at the day’s end. On Friday, it has fallen 5.11 percent to $28.09.

Numerous questions remain for Facebook and before the the lockup period ends, investors and insiders will have an opportunity to look at Facebook’s first earning report slated for July 25.


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