- April 1, 2023
- 6 minutes read
Czech Investor Takes CEO Role At Deals Site Groupon, Stock Pops
The tech industry is littered with many fallen giants. One of them is Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN), an online marketplace for…
The tech industry is littered with many fallen giants. One of them is Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN), an online marketplace for group deals and discounts. Groupon held a public listing in November 2011 and reached a market value of $17.8bn on its first day of trading. However, business struggles and significant losses have flattened the company’s market value to barely above $100mn in 2023.
Many have forgotten about Groupon and understandably so, but the company still exists and just announced a major leadership change. Dusan Senkypl, an investor based out of the Czech Republic, has taken the role of interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Groupon, effective immediately. He replaced Kedar Deshpande, who had been CEO for just 15 months.
- Senkypl is no stranger to Groupon. He’s the co-founder of Pale Fire Capital, a private equity group that is Groupon’s largest shareholder with a 22% stake. In 2022, Pale Fire Capital launched an activist fight against Groupon that ended with the private equity firm getting two board seats.
- Before co-founding Pale Fire Capital, Senkypl founded NetBrokers Holding, a holding company for several online deals comparison platforms, and sold it in 2018 to German conglomerate Bauer Media Group. He has given up his day-to-day role at Pale Fire Capital to focus on Groupon.
- Nothing is certain at this point, but it seems that Senkypl is prepping the struggling Groupon for a sale.
Groupon is one of the saddest tales of the American tech industry. It launched in 2008 and enjoyed successive years of rapid growth by convincing businesses to offer group buying discounts via its platform and collecting a cut of every sale. However, retailers were mostly losing money on Groupon deals and soured on the platform. Groupon found it hard to retain businesses and court new ones to its platform, so growth slowed and losses mounted.
It’s said that Groupon turned down a $6bn acquisition offer from tech giant Google in 2010. When the company went public a year later at a valuation nearly triple that amount, turning down the previous offer seemed like a smart choice, but definitely not now when its market value has dwindled to barely above $100mn.
Groupon’s investors apparently favored the appointment of a new CEO and drove the company’s stock up 25% on Friday, giving it a market value of $129mn.
- You don’t have to cry for Groupon’s founding team and early investors because they managed to cash out a significant amount of shares before the ship sunk. According to Groupon’s 2011 S-1 filing for its public listing, entities associated with co-founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell sold $319mn and $133mn in shares respectively, and co-founder Andrew Mason sold $10mn in shares directly.
- In 2015, Lefkofsky launched Tempus Labs, a cancer screening tech provider that has raised $1.3bn from private investors. Keywell founded and chairs Uptake, an industrial artificial intelligence software provider that has raised over $200mn from private investors. Mason is currently the CEO of Descript, an audio and video editing platform that has raised $100mn in private funding.
Groupon reported a net loss of $238mn on $599mn in revenue in 2022, compared to a $119mn profit on $967mn in revenue in 2021.