UPDATE 2-Groupon names Lefkofsky CEO; revenue exceeds estimates
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Groupon Inc on Wednesday said it named interim Chief Executive Eric Lefkofsky to lead on a more permanent basis, and reported better-than-expected revenue for the second quarter. Its stock rose 19 percent in after-hours trading.
The company also authorized a $300 million share repurchase program.
Lefkofsky, who was named interim CEO in February, delivered higher revenue for his first full quarter in charge, and shares hit a 52-week high after hours at $10.35.
"I think the news about installing Lefkofsky played a big part," said Tom White, an analyst at Macquarie Research. "Investors have been very impressed by the progress he's made since being made interim head and improving metrics particularly in the North America business."
Lefkofsky has pushed forward a new mobile-centric strategy at Groupon. The company said that 50 percent of its North American transactions came through smartphones and tablets, versus 30 percent a year ago.
The Chicago-based company reported quarterly revenue of$608.7 million compared with $568.3 million a year ago. Analysts on average expected $606.2 million in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
With its core daily deals business model in steep decline over the past year, Groupon in recent months has re-invented itself as a more traditional e-commerce business that sells long-term deals through its smartphone app. Shares of the company have risen roughly 80 percent since Jan. 1.
Groupon enjoyed a record quarter for revenue in North America, its home market. Gross billings, or the total value of purchased goods and services - of which the company takes a cut - rose 30 percent in that region, outpacing a 10 percent expansion rate overall.
Revenue in the United States and Canada grew 45 percent, offsetting a 24 percent slide in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and a 26 percent fall everywhere else.
"North America continues to see strong growth and we made good progress in EMEA which flipped to positive gross billings growth" the second quarter, Chief Financial Officer Jason Child told Reuters on Wednesday.
"We're now shifting our focus to the rest of the world."
Groupon posted a second quarter net loss of $7.6 million, or $0.01 per share, compared with a year ago profit of $28.4 million, or 4 cents a share.
Excluding one-time items, it earned 2 cents a share, level with analysts' expectations.