Groupon Hits Roadblocks in China and at Home

By
Groupon founder Andrew Mason.
Groupon founder Andrew Mason. Photo: Noah Berger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Last week, Groupon revealed that it owed businesses vastly more money than it had in the bank. And this week, we learn that the company's Q2 growth has slowed so much that shares have dropped 20 percent in value on the secondary market. (Groupon is prepping for an IPO, so anything traded currently is behind closed doors.) And today the Journal reports that the company's massive Chinese expansion is pretty much falling flat on its face. Less than a year ago, Groupon launched GaoPeng.com in China, but in recent weeks more than ten of the site's offices have been closed nationally. A lawyer representing angry former employees (some were permanently locked out of one site after merely venturing out for lunch) estimates that 400 staffers have been laid off, but the Journal couldn't verify the numbers. Groupon has so far invested $8.6 million in GaoPeng, which is co-owned by a Chinese internet company and a hedge fund. How's that bigger-than-Google valuation going, guys?

Groupon Stumbles in China, Closes Some Offices [WSJ]