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Groupon Needs More Disclosure: Analyst

Barclays Capital Equity Research analyst Mark May told CNBC Thursday he is willing to cut Groupon some slack on its first quarterly loss, but he is troubled by the online daily deal site not fully disclosing customer and merchant data.

“We always prefer more disclosure than less,” said May, Barclays’ Internet analyst, about the lack of information on the number of Groupon subscribers and its featured merchants.

“We definitely heard pushback from large investors on that topic. That’s something to pay attention to,” he said.

May said Groupon might be saying little because it doesn’t want to tell competitors too much about its business, or scare its own investors.

“There’s a slippery slope investors will read too much into these metrics,” he said.

The three-year-old company, which went publiclate last year, reported a loss of 2 cents a share in its first public filing. Analysts had been expecting 3 cents a share in earnings. May said that considering that the company is young, it has generated greater-than-expected free cash flow and $250 million in cash profits for the quarter.

The company is working on improving the site for customers and merchants, he said.

“I think you’ll see a lot of their investments, including tuck-in acquisitions, are about improving personalization of the deals to the consumer and improving the analytic engine to the merchant,” May said.

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Disclosures:

Mark May does not own shares, but Groupon is an investment banking client of Barclays.

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