Online deal website Groupon (GRPN) was up over 4 percent on premarket trading and kept that momentum, with gains approaching 9 percent by early afternoon. The spike can most likely be attributed to a recent upgrade from analysts at Stifel Financial Corp. ($SF) who upgraded the stock from Hold to Buy.
Analyst Upgrade Drives Gains
Stifel cited three primary reasons for their upgrade for their newfound optimism: accelerated growth at core “local” businesses in the United Kingdom with other European markets holding steady, the company’s status as a leader in mobile commerce and its “continued shift of usage toward app-based e-commerce,” and improved margins with more efficient operations under co-founder and CEO Eric Lefkosky’s management team.
Groupon buys SideTour
The upgrade comes on the heels of news on Sept. 18 that Groupon would be acquiring New York-based travel daily deals site SideTour. SideTour was built around enabling small groups of people to purchase tickets to local cultural events, helping them explore their city. Details of the deal were not disclosed, but co-founder and CEO of SideTour Vipin Goyal said that the deal would allow his company to “reach so many more people than we ever could on our own.” This was the second such acquisition for Groupon in the last two weeks as it announced the purchase of European travel website Blink on September 9.
Stock Market News Improving for Groupon since Mason Ouster
Anyone who’s held Groupon’s stock since the company’s IPO almost two years ago might want to title their wild ride “How Not Green Was My Valley.” After debuting in November of 2011 at a price of $26.11 a share, the stock cratered as questions about co-founder and CEO Andrew Mason’s leadership swirled for months. After a year of public trading, Groupon had lost over 85 percent of its value and was trading for under $5 a share.
However, since Mason was fired in February of this year, the stock’s rallied with vigor. Today’s pop is part of a run that’s seen the stock price jump almost 180 percent since the start of March.