Kara Swisher

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I’m Still Here: Stock Soars as Groupon Shows Stronger-Than-Expected Q1 Revenue

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Groupon said it had revenue of $601.4 million, up eight percent, in the first quarter, and earnings of three cents. Those profits were in line with Wall Street expectations, but sales were better than the expected $590 million at the daily deals site.

The stock was up nearly 12 percent in after-hours trading to $6.21. Shares have risen 42.6 percent in the last six months, although that’s down 43.9 percent from a year ago.

There was no news of the search for a new leader for Groupon, which fired its CEO, co-founder Andrew Mason, in the quarter.

On a conference call later, co-CEO Ted Leonsis said that Groupon’s board had formed a search committee, but that it was “not in a hurry” to find a new company head.

But, in a statement, co-CEO Eric Lefkofsky said: “We are encouraged by our results, as our local revenues accelerated and our margins improved over the prior quarter.”

Anything up is good news for the suffering Groupon, which has been pilloried by Wall Street since its late 2011 IPO, although sentiment has improved since Mason’s ouster.

Gross billings, which is the amount consumers buy from Groupon overall, without subtracting payments to merchants, were up four percent, to $1.04 billion, on strong growth in North America. Sales were off internationally, though, by 9 percent.

International business, which has a bigger active customer base than North America, was the cause of much of Groupon’s declines, a problem execs have been trying to address with a new “One Playbook” strategy to consolidate systems.

On the conference call, COO Kal Raman called the situation “a tale of two Groupons.”

On a GAAP basis, Groupon had a loss of one cent, from two cents in the same period a year ago.

Groupon also said North American transactions on mobile devices accounted for 45 percent of the overall number, up from 30 percent last year, while email fell to less than 45 percent of the deals sold.

On a less happy note, Groupon said that its outlook for the second quarter would be below consensus.

Here’s the the Chicago-based Groupon’s official press release, as well as some tasty financial slides, so you can read it all for yourself:

GRPN

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