Groupon Shares Tumble 15% After Fourth Quarter Loss

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Antoine Antoniol / Bloomberg / Getty Images

Groupon's CEO Andrew Mason.

Online discount service Groupon continues to grow at a rapid clip, but the company is still losing money, posting a $42.7 million loss for the fourth quarter of 2011. Groupon shares fell over 15% in after-hours trading Wednesday to $20.82, just slightly higher than the level at which the company went public in November.

Groupon’s results surprised many Wall Street analysts who had been expecting the company to post a small profit in its first quarterly earnings announcement as a public company. Groupon executives attributed much of the loss to higher than anticipated income tax from overseas.

On the bright side, Groupon said its revenue for the quarter was $506.5 million, up 194% from $172.2 million one year ago. And the company’s net loss of $42.7 million was significantly lower than one year ago, when the company lost $378.6 million. Groupon says it now has 33 million users.

For the full year, the company pulled in $1.6 billion, a 419% increase over 2010, but still lost $350 million. That’s due, in part, to the company’s fast-paced growth: it now has some 10,000 employees.

Groupon, which raised $700 million when it went public in November, offers daily discounts at retailers around the country and then takes a percentage of the resulting sales. Looking ahead to the current quarter, the company expects to revenue of $510 million to $550 million.