The opening of Groupon’s new international office in Berlin followed another record low share price this week and more details of the group’s push to become what founder and CEO Andrew Mason calls an “OS for local commerce”.
About 150 guests, including Mason and new senior VP for international operations Veit Dengler, celebrated the opening yesterday with beer, BBQ and a paint-off for top execs. Morale seemed high – apart from journalists’ disappointment at the lacklustre press conference, thanks to the “quiet period” ahead of Groupon’s upcoming quarterly results.
The new office, the former Sat.1 broadcast centre on Oberwallstraße, led by regional managing director Dr Jens Hutzschenreuter, will house up to 1000 employees and is now the group’s largest headquarters outside Chicago. It brings together Groupon’s four previous offices in Berlin, where it acquired Rocket Internet’s CityDeal in 2010.
Groupon’s tumbling share price is in part due to worries about its exposure to currency instability in Europe, the source of a quarter of its revenue. International business makes up about half of Groupon’s total revenue, which, in May, Groupon tipped to be between $550 million and $590 million for the second quarter of this year with operating income at between $25 million and $45 million. The Q2 results will be announced on August 13.
The strategy going forward, as Mason confirmed earlier this week: diversify, diversify – into, among other products, location-based listings, calendars for upcoming deals and, most interesting, mobile and credit card payments. If the plan’s pulled off, it’ll allow Groupon to make the most of its vast network while cutting exposure to some of the issues plaguing its core daily deals business.
It’s a solid strategy, at least on paper – and Groupon needs some sort of serious lift to beat the critics. Meanwhile, a very swanky new office in Berlin can’t hurt…