Amazon Admits Daily-Deal Coupons Were a $169-Million Mistake
It turns out that the most amazing discount that LivingSocial would offer was on itself: “Amazon invested $175 million in LivingSocial in December 2010, when online coupon companies were a hot commodity,” reports TechFlash. Now, Amazon has written down $169 million of that investment against its third quarter. That’s 97 percent off! Beat that, Groupon.
Amazon’s investment amounted to about a 30 percent stake in the daily-deal company, which is said to have steered clear of an IPO, though if you grant IPOs conscious agency, you can imagine them steering clear of LivingSocial. Chief Financial Officer John Bax told the Wall Street Journal in June that, “This is a healthy business and a healthy industry. The economics are good.” Amazon would seem to differ.
Groupon stock [GRPN] has soared almost one percent on the Amazon’s valuation of its competitor, to $4.46.
Amazon’s earnings would still have disappointed analysts, who had thought the online retailer would lose only 7 cents a share; excluding the LivingSocial write-down, Amazon lost 23 cents a share (as opposed to 60 cents a share with the LivingSocial discount). The company reported an operating loss of $28 million for Q3. (See their press release here.)
Net sales increased 27 percent over third quarter 2011, and Amazon forecasts net sales growth of 16 to 31 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with fourth quarter 2011.
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