* N American daily deals business posts strong quarter
* 1st qtr revenue $601 mln vs Wall Street view $590 mln
* North American revenue jumps 42 pct
* Shares rise 12 pct after-hours
(Adds analyst comments, background on Groupon)
By Alistair Barr
May 8 (Reuters) - Groupon Inc reported
better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue on Wednesday
as the company's main daily deals business in North America
turned in a strong performance.
Shares of Groupon, the world's largest daily deal company,
surged 12 percent to $6.24 in after-hours trading.
First-quarter revenue rose to $601.4 million from $559.3
million a year earlier. Groupon was expected to generate revenue
of $590 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Consolidated segment operating income, or CSOI, a closely
watched measure of Groupon's profitability, came in at $51.2
million in the latest period. Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC
Capital Markets, was expecting CSOI of $26 million.
Groupon's North American revenue jumped 42 percent, while
International revenue fell 18 percent.
"Revenues were slightly better than expected, with North
America growth lot better, while International is definitely
still slower," said Aaron Kessler, an analyst at Raymond James.
Wall Street was cautious ahead of Groupon results, so the
company's "solid" performance triggered a particularly big gain
in Groupon shares late on Wednesday, Kessler added.
The company, one of the most feted Internet market
debutantes of 2011, fired co-founder and CEO Andrew Mason in
February after a string of disappointing results wiped out
three-quarters of its market value. Groupon,
which has lost several other key executives, is on the lookout
for a new permanent chief executive.
Groupon shares hit a record low late last year, but have
rallied strongly since then, partly because Tiger Global, a top
technology-focused hedge fund firm, took a stake of about 10
percent in the company.
Under interim co-CEOs Eric Lefkofsky and Ted Leonsis,
Groupon is trying to turn around its struggling European
business, while continuing to expand in the United States.
Analysts expect a slimmed-down company under the new leadership.
(Reporting by Alistair Barr in San Francisco; editing by Carol
Bishopric and Matthew Lewis)