Just yesterday we reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting a probe on Groupon, the daily deals company that recently went public, due to their last minute revisions on their financial report. The SEC may launch a formal investigation of the matter. Now Groupon faces legal action as shareholders raise concerns over the daily deals business and the ongoing investigation.
The reason behind the last minute revision was identified by Groupon as “material weakness in its internal controls,” which is related to their Groupon Promise that allows consumers to return one of their coupons. The company did not expect that so many of their consumers would take advantage of their offer. Unfortunately, Groupon did not have enough cash to cover the refunds.
And because of Groupon’s questionable financial report, Fan Zhang, a Groupon shareholder, filed a lawsuit that seeks class action status against the daily deals giant. Zhang is representing all the shareholders who purchased shares between November 4, 2011 and March 30, 2012.
The lawsuit claims that Groupon duped shareholders into purchasing shares when they overstated revenue, issued materially false and misleading financial results, and concealed how its business was not growing as fast and was not nearly as resistant to competition. Aside from that, the lawsuit claims that Groupon failed to reveal their “poor and inadequate” internal controls, and concealed in its registration statement and prospectus for its November 2011 initial public offering that it did not comply with various countries’ laws.
Zhang bought some 3,000 shares for $61,800 in February and sold them in March at a loss of more than $9,000.
Groupon spokeswoman Julie Mossler declined to comment on the matter.
Groupon recently agreed to settle the 17 lawsuits filed against them for $8.5 million. The nationwide litigation accused Groupon and their partner retailers of violating federal and state consumer protection laws by issuing coupons that were quick to expire.