groupon earnings

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Welcome to the big leagues, Groupon. Shareholders punished the stock in after-hours trading Wednesday after the daily deals site posted a surprise loss for its first quarter as a public company.

Groupon reported a net fourth-quarter loss of $42.7 million, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $506.5 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting earnings of 3 cents a share on sales of $475 million. For the full 2011 fiscal year, Groupon lost $350.8 million on sales of $1.6 billion.

Investors ignored the strong revenue and focused on the earnings loss, sending Groupon (GRPN) shares down 10% after hours.

Groupon began trading publicly on November 4 after an IPO process filled with controversy.

As soon as Groupon disclosed its financials in its June 2011 IPO filing, critics slammed the company for its unorthodox accounting measures. That led to several downward revisions of Groupon’s financials. Those restatements effectively cut Groupon’s reported sales in half to $688 million for the first half of 2011, down from the $1.5 billion it initally claimed.

Despite all that, Groupon shares soared about 31% on their debut day, at one point topping $31 a share.

But the end of 2011 proved turbulent for the Internet sector. Shares of Pandora (P), Zillow (Z), LinkedIn (LNKD) and Angie’s List (ANGI) all suffered steep double-digit losses for November. Groupon posted a streak of declines late that month that sent shares tumbling below their IPO price.

But most of the newly public Internet companies began to rebound at least a bit in December or January. Groupon pulled out of its slump too. Its shares are up 19% for 2012 so far, trading at about $25 a share — up from its $20 IPO price.

Last week, Facebook rocked the Internet IPO world by filing for its own $5 billion offering. To top of page

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