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Groupon Lowers Full-Year Outlook as Stock Tanks

Another quarter, another disappointing forecast for Groupon.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Another quarter, another disappointing forecast for Groupon.

The deals company said in its second-quarter financial results release that it was lowering its outlook for 2014 adjusted EBIDTA from at least $300 million to at least $270 million. The news pushed the stock down more than 15 percent in after-hours trading.

This marks the third consecutive earnings report in which the company revealed it was lowering either quarterly or annual guidance.

“Although the company has the opportunity to reduce marketing spend over the remainder of the year to achieve a higher target, given recent returns on those investments, it believes it is important to maintain flexibility for investment in long-term growth,” the company said in a statement.

Groupon also reported revenue that came in below analyst expectations. Groupon registered net sales of $751.6 million in the quarter; analysts were expecting revenue of $761.8 million. Its earnings of one cent per share, excluding some items, were in line with analyst expectations.

I’ll be hopping on the phone with CEO Eric Lefkofsky in a few minutes and will update this post after the call.

Update 4:55 pm ET: In an interview with Re/code, Lefkofsky said Groupon could have decided to reduce marketing spend in the backend of the year to hit its adjusted EBITDA target, and still hit its revenue goals based on the natural holiday season boost, but decided that move would have been “short-sighted.” The company believes its marketing spend is working, and will boost revenue growth in 2015.

“You try to make the best decision you can and hope when you’re transparent..the kind of investors you want to be in your stock long-term will say, ‘I agree with that decision,'” he said. If you only optimize for quarterly results, “eventually it catches up to you,” he said.

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