Tiger Global Management LLC, an $8 billion hedge fund run by Chase Coleman and Feroz Dewan, has acquired 65 million shares of Groupon (Nasdaq:GRPN) for $202 million. The 9.9% stake signals to investors there's still some life in the online goods and services discounter. Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I have to think this move wasn't a spontaneous one. I'll look at some of the reasons why the hedge fund chose to make such a large investment.

Discount Brokers Comparison: Your one-stop shop for finding the perfect broker for your investments.

Technology Focus
A quick look at Tiger Global Management's holdings shows that it dipped its toe in Groupon's water sometime between April and June of this year, buying 1.3 million shares. It acquired the remainder in the third quarter. You'll also notice that many of its investments, at least the publicly traded ones, are technology related. In its Q3 report I count no less than nine investments of over $100 million that participate in the technology sector, including $1.7 billion in Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL), $527 million in Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) and $254 million in Facebook (Nasdaq:FB). With the $202 million investment, Groupon becomes Tiger Global's 15th largest holding out of 43. Chase Coleman founded Tiger in 2001 after working for Julian Robertson for three years; he got whacked pretty good in 2009 as a result of investing in financial stocks. He's since refocused on technology investments where his hedge fund's had a lot of success. Buying into Groupon speaks volumes.

SEE: A Primer On Investing In The Tech Industry

Why Groupon?
Some media pundits have suggested that Groupon's testing of retail stores in Asia where customers can try out products they're interested in buying as well as pick up items they've purchased through Groupon Goods, rather than waiting for them to be delivered, has Coleman intrigued about the future. Forbes contributor Panos Mourdoukoutas makes a valid point that Groupon is turning its customers into product evangelists who are providing word-of-mouth advertising for new products ultimately reducing its marketing costs to the merchants. It's clear that the business of daily deals can only take Groupon so far. By expanding its suite of merchant tools to include Groupon Payments and Breadcrumb, its iPad-based point-of-sale system for restaurants, Groupon is providing additional reasons for merchants to stick with it.

In its Q3 conference call, CEO and co-founder Andrew Mason makes it clear Groupon is moving towards an e-commerce marketplace that allows its more than 200 million subscribers to easily find deals on its site rather than simply receiving emails telling them about them. At the end of Q3, it had 27,000 active deals available, 13 times more than a year earlier. Its become less of a push marketer emailing deals and more of a pull marketer where subscribers can browse for them instead. The addition of Groupon Goods in 2011 allows it to offer large companies the scale necessary to move merchandise quickly. According to Mason, it sold almost 30,000 GPS units for Garmin (Nasdaq:GRMN) a few weeks ago in just 24 hours. The concept must be working because Groupon Goods reached an annual run-rate of almost $1.5 billion in global billings in the quarter and its active customers increased 37% year-over-year to 39.5 million.

Financial Success
Groupon expects 2012 revenue of at least $2.32 billion and operating income of $190 million. Its free cash flow for all of 2011 was $247 million. I expect that it will be well over $300 million this year. While analysts continue to revise Groupon's earnings downward, evidence seems to suggest it's getting financially stronger. Three months ago, the analyst consensus estimate for 2013 was 39 cents per share. Today that sits at $0.24, an almost 40% downward revision. If you back out the $1.83 per share in cash from its Nov. 20 closing price of $3.37, you get a forward 2013 P/E of 6.4. I think I'm starting to see why Coleman bought such a large stake. The downside is limited at this point.

SEE: 5 Must-Have Metrics For Value Investors

The Bottom Line
Chase Coleman is one of the few people who has both worked for Julian Robertson and received seed money to start his or her own hedge fund. That makes him special. Tiger Global Management believes Groupon's a good buy; I have no reason to doubt one of the most successful offspring of the Tiger Fund.

At the time of writing, Will Ashworth did not own any shares in any company mentioned in this article.

Related Articles
  1. Investing News

    Bank Stocks: Time to Buy or Avoid? (WFC, JPM, C)

    Bank stocks have been pounded. Is this the right time to buy or should they be avoided?
  2. Stock Analysis

    Why the Bullish Are Turning Bearish

    Banks are reducing their targets for the S&P 500 for 2016. Here's why.
  3. Stock Analysis

    How to Find Quality Stocks Amid the Wreckage

    Finding companies with good earnings and hitting on all cylinders in this environment, although possible, is not easy.
  4. Investing News

    What You Can Learn from Carl Icahn's Mistakes

    Carl Icahn has been a stellar performer in the investment world for decades, but following his lead these days could be dangerous.
  5. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Altria's Return on Equity (ROE) (MO)

    Learn about Altria Group's return on equity (ROE) and analyze net profit margin, asset turnover and financial leverage to determine what is causing its high ROE.
  6. Investing News

    Icahn's Bet on Cheniere Energy: Should You Follow?

    Investing legend Carl Icahn continues to lose money on Cheniere Energy, but he's increasing his stake. Should you follow his lead?
  7. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Google's Return on Equity (ROE) (GOOGL)

    Learn about Alphabet's return on equity. How has its ROE changed over time, how does it compare to its peers and what factors are driving ROE for the company?
  8. Investing News

    Is Buffett's Bet on Oil Right for You? (XOM, PSX)

    Oil stocks are getting trounced, but Warren Buffett still likes one of them. Should you follow the leader?
  9. Investing News

    Chipotle Served with Criminal Probe

    Chipotle's beat muted expectations and got a clear bill from the CDC, but it now appears that an investigation into its E.coli breakout has expanded.
  10. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Sprint Corp's Return on Equity (ROE) (S)

    Learn about Sprint's return on equity. Find out why its ROE is negative and how asset turnover and financial leverage impact ROE relative to Sprint's peers.
RELATED FAQS
  1. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does additional paid in capital affect retained earnings?

    Both additional paid-in capital and retained earnings are entries under the shareholders' equity section of a company's balance ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What types of capital are not considered share capital?

    The money a business uses to fund operations or growth is called capital, and there are a number of capital sources available. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between issued share capital and subscribed share capital?

    The difference between subscribed share capital and issued share capital is the former relates to the amount of stock for ... Read Full Answer >>
COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Trading Center