Groupon's COO Just Signaled Plans For Massive International Layoffs

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Photo: aflcio flickr

On Groupon’s fourth-quarter earnings call, COO Kal Raman, who joined the daily-deals company last year to automate and improve operations, just dropped a big hint about layoffs.Raman said that in Groupon’s international markets, twice as many people “touch a deal” as in the United States. In other words, Groupon is far less efficient in those markets.

He also talked about how the company will get “sustainable operating leverage” over costs in the first half of 2013.

He didn’t discuss headcount changes, but those are both pretty obvious clues about what Groupon has to do.

Groupon made a small number of layoffs last fall.

But it still has 10,000 employees—about 7,000 of which are stationed in international markets. Yet North America accounts for far more of its revenues—$375 million in the fourth quarter versus $263 million for international markets.

Groupon talks about bringing its North American “playbook” to international markets. That seems to require far fewer people per dollar of revenues.

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