- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 15, 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) - In a story Aug. 14 about Groupon Inc., The Associated Press reported erroneously that Clayton Moran is an analyst with Benchmark Capital. Moran is an analyst with The Benchmark Co., an unrelated company.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Deals fatigue? Groupon stock 27 percent down

Bargain basement: Groupon shares plummet as analysts worry about daily deal fatigue


AP Business Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Groupon’s stock is 27 percent cheaper Tuesday, but that doesn’t make it a bargain.

Its stock fell to an all-time low as analysts slashed targets and ratings on the online deals company after it reported its first-ever quarter-to-quarter decline in gross billings, a measure of how much money Groupon collects from customers.

Groupon blamed the weak economy in Europe and unfavorable currency-exchange rates.

But analysts pointed to a more troubling possibility: online deals fatigue.

Groupon Inc. pioneered the online daily deals market, which offers subscribers deep discounts on everything from spa sessions to tequila tastings. Although it has raced to build market share, similar businesses are easy to set up. The model sparked a flood of copycats, including LivingSocial, Google Offers, Travelzoo, DealOn and SocialBuy. Together, deals flood online mailboxes multiple times a day.

“It appears the daily deal business has run into a wall,” wrote Clayton Moran, an analyst with The Benchmark Co., in a research note. “From what we can tell, the bears were right.”

Moran slashed his price target on the shares from $20 to $7 and downgraded his rating to “Hold” from “Buy.”

The stock fell $2.04, or 27 percent, to close at $5.51 Tuesday. That’s 72 percent below its initial public offering price of $20 in November. Groupon had no comment Tuesday.

Many analysts pointed to several troubling signs from Groupon’s second-quarter earnings report, which was released Monday after the market closed:

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