Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Groupon IPO Scandal Is the Sleaze That’s Legal

April 5 (Bloomberg) -- Here’s an unsettling fact for anyone thinking of ever buying shares in a newly public company: Even if its executives know their internal accounting systems are a wreck, they aren’t required to disclose this until after the company goes public.

It is a lesson that Groupon Inc. shareholders have learned the hard way. Groupon shares fell 17 percent on Monday, after the online coupon company said late last week that it had identified a “material weakness” in its internal controls over financial reporting, as of Dec. 31. The Chicago-based company also revised its fourth-quarter results to show lower revenue and a larger loss, after finding errors in its accounting for customer refunds. At $14.54, the stock now sells for 44 percent less than it did after the first day of trading.