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Hold onto your hats, world: Groupon actually made a PROFIT

Shares plummet by a fifth

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Voucher bazaar Groupon managed to bag a profit for the first time ever in the second quarter of this year - but it wasn't enough to convince investors it's a good place to leave their money.

The coupon company's revenue missed analysts' expectations, sending shares sliding down more than 18 per cent in after-hours trading.

Groupon reported net profit of $28.4m instead of the net loss of $107.5m it posted in the same quarter last year, and revenue of $568.3m versus last year's $392.6m. But analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S were expecting revenue of $573m.

Shares stayed steady yesterday, but dropped 18.68 per cent in pre-market trading to $6.14.

The daily deals website is the latest internet darling to disappoint investors, who seem to be starting to wonder what all the fuss was about with the likes of Groupon, Zynga and Facebook. Groupon blamed Europe's weak economy and currency fluctuations for its less-than-impressive results, but investors are hearing the same story at other internet startups - companies that are relying on a single stream of unsure revenue.

Groupon has been trying to remedy that by moving into product sales and merchant services, but these sources of dosh are still relatively untried and probably won't give the firm a repeat of the rapid growth spurt brought on by daily deals.

Gross billings, the total amount the firm got from customers after taxes and refunds, was up 38 per cent from the same quarter last year to $1.29bn, but down slightly on the first quarter of this year, when billings were $1.35bn.

The website isn't expecting things to be too much better in the third quarter either: it anticipates revenue lying between $580m and $620m with net income between $15m and $35m. ®

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