Groupon’s Market May Be Smaller Than It Claims: Analyst

Online daily-deal site Groupon's "addressable market" might not be as big as advertised, and that's why Stifel Nicolaus downgraded its stock to "sell" from "hold."

Groupon restated its fourth-quarter revenue and increased its net loss after failing to set aside enough money for customer refunds.

To Stifel Nicolaus senior analyst Jordan Rohan, that was a red flag.

"One would think they’d have had these issues ironed out. Unfortunately, they haven’t," he said of Groupon management.

"I just question whether it means that the addressable market is as gargantuan as they say it is," he told CNBC Monday. He fears there may be more "bumps in the road" for the company that could drive the stock down to $13 or "even lower than that."

"There are very few instances where a company’s growing pains are communicated to investors in a Friday night accounting revision," he said. "It’s not just a below-the-line revision [that] doesn’t matter, it’s that they were seeing higher refunds being requested by consumers for whatever reason."

Groupon reported its first quarter of earnings as a public company in February.

Rohan said the Groupon business model may work for people looking for the best deals on restaurants but may not work for such things as Lasik surgery, and he hinted Groupon might have seen some "merchant exhaustion" — losing better-quality providers and gaining complaints as a result.

"It has to do with consumer satisfaction," he said, and even a small restatement is "something that bothers me."

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Trader disclosure: On Apr 2, 2012, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders; Joe Terranova is long VRTS; Joe Terranova is long NXPI; Joe Terranova is long IBM; Joe Terranova is long MCD; Joe Terranova is long EMC; Joe Terranova is long MSFT; Joe Terranova is long JOY; Joe Terranova is long OXY; Joe Terranova is long POT; Joe Terranova is long TCK; Jon Najarian is long AAPL CALL SPREADS; Jon Najarian is long SBUX CALL SPREADS; Jon Najarian is long GLD CALL SPREADS; Jon Najarian is long SLV CALL SPREADS; Jon Najarian is long GDXJ CALL SPREADS; Jon Najarian is long CBOE; Jon Najarian is long CIGX; Jon Najarian is long CME; Patty Edwards is long AAPL; Patty Edwards is long GLD; Patty Edwards is long INTC; Patty Edwards is long JOY; Patty Edwards is long SBUX; Patty Edwards is long COP; Patty Edwards is long AMZN

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Analysts who prepared this report are compensated based upon (among other factors) the overall profitability of BMO Capital Markets and their affiliates, which includes the overall profitability of investment banking services. Compensation for research is based on effectiveness in generating new ideas and in communication of ideas to clients, performance of recommendations, accuracy of earnings estimates, and service to clients.

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