The turnaround at Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN) continues to impress. Shares of the daily deals leader soared 17.7% last week, moving higher after another blowout financial report. A couple of analysts would go on to pump up their price targets following the encouraging quarterly results, just as Groupon itself would boost its full-year gross profit and adjusted EBITDA guidance.
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The stock's been a surprising winner this year, now trading nearly 65% higher in 2017. Revenue is still going the wrong way. Revenue of $634.5 million declined nearly 8% during the third quarter, matching the year-over-year top-line slide it posted a quarter earlier. Investors have learned not to read too much into Groupon's revenue. The reinvigorated dot-com darling is paring back from unprofitable overseas markets and lower-margin categories. It's one of the market's legitimate cases of addition through subtraction.
The real turnaround at Groupon is taking place on the bottom line where it once again exceeded analyst profit targets. The deal maker has now come through with three straight profitable quarters, so generating positive net income is no longer a fluke.
Making a deal
Groupon shares hit yet another 52-week high on Friday, and while the stock is far removed from its 2011 IPO price of $20, investors that have bought into the potential turnaround over the past year have been handsomely rewarded. Some analysts see the good times sticking around.
Sam Kemp at Piper Jaffray boosted his price target from $5.50 to $6.25 following the report. Groupon's rosier outlook despite the hurricane hiccups that naturally dinged voucher sales in Florida and Texas this summer is encouraging. He's sticking to his overweight rating.
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Tom Forte at DA Davidson is jacking up his price goal from $5 to $6.50. Groupon's better-than-expected profit, sustained North American growth, and improving international operations fueled his higher price target. Forte feels that leadership under CEO Rich Williams -- who took the helm in late 2015 -- has repositioned the company to the point where its improvement is sustainable.
Groupon is in a good place, sinking revenue notwithstanding. It closed out the third quarter with 32.5 million active North American customers, 600,000 more than it had three months earlier. It remains cash-rich and free of long-term debt. A healthy balance sheet when it was losing money wasn't very comforting, but now that its strong financial position is still in place as Groupon is consistently profitable with gross profit and adjusted EBITDA on the rise, it's hard to bet against the reborn online deal maker.
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