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Groupon to slash 1,100 jobs, pull out of 7 countries

By
Tomas Monzon

CHICAGO, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- E-commerce website Groupon announced Tuesday plans to cut about 1,100 jobs and cease operations in seven countries.

Chief Operating Officer Rich Williams, who entered the position in June, said the cuts are part of a restructuring of the company's international offerings. The cuts are expected to be completed by September 2016.

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Most of the cuts, which represent 10 percent of its workforce, will affect the company's deal-posting and customer service staff abroad. Its Chicago headquarters will remain unaffected.

Williams said the company is pulling out of countries where investment outweighs opportunity: Morocco, Panama, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Thailand and Uruguay. Groupon left Turkey, Greece and India in August.

The company's shares on Tuesday morning hovered above $4, having dipped below $5 in July. Groupon originally went public at $20 a share in 2011, and its revenue missed expectations in 2015. The majority of that revenue comes from North American business, while 27.6 percent comes Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and 7.2 percent comes from other places.

Mark Tebbe, chairman of a tech council in Chicago called ChicagoNext, told the Chicago Tribune that Groupon's plan to slash jobs and markets is part of its strategy to deal with its explosive growth by focusing on the areas that return the most profit. He dubbed it "a fairly natural course of business."

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For his part, Williams said the cuts "are tough actions to take," adding the company will do all it can to make the transitions "as easy as possible" in its necessary evolution.

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