Groupon shares jump on upbeat first quarter results

CHICAGO, Tue May 15, 2012 – Groupon Inc. shares jumped 22 percent in premarket trade on Tuesday after the daily deals company posted its first quarterly profit as it signed up more customers and merchants.

“While billings, revenue, margins, and guidance all met or exceeded, signs of accelerated North American revenue shows that the company’s technology efforts around personalization and, to a lesser extent, mobile and rewards, are paying off,” Evercore Partners analyst Ken Sena wrote in a note.

Sena raised his price target on the stock to $17 from $15 and kept a “buy” rating.

Analysts have been particularly concerned that growth was slowing in Groupon’s relatively more mature North American business. However, Groupon said on Monday North America revenue rose 33 percent for the first quarter — the strongest growth in a year.

“Groupon appears to be gaining market share in general,” Benchmark analyst Clayton Moran said.

Groupon’s take rate — which measures how much of the money it keeps after sharing cash with merchants running its deals — rose to 41.3 percent from 40 percent in the previous quarter.

Shares of the Chicago-based company rose $2.55 to 14.29 in trading before the bell on Tuesday. The stock closed at $11.74 on Monday on the Nasdaq.