Groupon's IPO paperwork offered the first public glimpse into the financials of a company eye-popping growth: In an August filing, Groupon reported its revenue for the first six months of 2011 at $1.5 billion, up from a grand total of $94,000 just three years earlier.
Turns out Groupon was being extremely generous in its definition of "revenue." If Groupon sells a coupon for $10, it would typically pass $5 of that on to the merchant -- but Groupon had previously been reporting all $10 as its own revenue. The SEC smacked Groupon and called that a no-no.
In September, Groupon submitted a revised filing to "correct for an error" -- namely, including in its revenue the cash it has to hand back to merchants for their share of the coupons Groupon sells.
The restatement effectively whacked Groupon's sales in half, knocking them down to $688 million for the first half of 2011. Groupon's net loss for the period: $255 million. -- Julianne Pepitone
It's been a hot and cold year for the stock market, but these Fortune 500 companies managed to float to the top.
|The weekend America's newspapers called Donald Trump a liar|
|I'm voting for the 'lesser of two evils' this election|
|Charles Osgood announces Jane Pauley as his successor|
|The life and crimes of Sin City's million-dollar mail fraudster|
|IMDb will have to remove actors' ages under new law|