Groupon names Eric Lefkofsky as CEO, shares jump

NEW YORK (AP) — Groupon named co-founder Eric Lefkofsky as CEO, replacing Andrew Mason, who was fired from the online deals site in February amid growing concerns about its financial performance.

Lefkofsky had served as Groupon’s chairman and half of the Office of the Chief Executive, along with Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis, since Mason’s ousting. Leonsis will now serve as the company’s chairman.

Groupon also reported strong second-quarter results on Wednesday, sending shares sharply higher in after-hours trading.

“With two quarters on the job, I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made in such a short time,” Lefkofsky said in a statement. “We continue to gain traction in mobile, with nearly 50% of our North American transactions coming from mobile in June.”

The company booked a loss of $7.6 million, or 1 cent per share, in the April-to-June period. That’s down from earnings of $28.4 million, or 4 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2012.

Adjusted earnings, which exclude stock compensation expenses, were 2 cents per share in the latest period. That matched analysts’ average expectations, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose 7 percent to $608.7 million from $568.3. Analysts were expecting $606.2 million, according to FactSet.

For the current quarter, Groupon expects adjusted earnings in the range of a loss of 1 cent to a profit of 1 cent per share on revenue of $585 million and $635 million.

Analysts are forecasting earnings of 5 cent per share, on revenue of $621.5 million.

Groupon built its business on emailing daily discount deals for restaurants, spas and nail salons to users and taking a cut of the money businesses make from them. But Groupon is trying to move beyond that. To diversify its business, the company has expanded into product sales, payments services and other areas. Last month, it launched Groupon Reserve, a service that lets people book restaurant tables at a discount.

The company also announced plans to repurchase $300 million of stock over the next two years.

Chicago-based Groupon’s stock jumped $1.67, or 19 percent, to $10.39 in after-hours trading. At this rate, the stock could open well above its 52-week high of $9.43, reached in early July. Shares closed regular trading Wednesday at $8.72, up 79 percent since the start of the year.

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