Earlier, we wrote about how Groupon seems to be boldly–and probably stupidly–thumbing its nose at the SEC by leaking a detailed CEO letter to the media during the IPO “quiet period.”(The “quiet period” is the months leading up to a company’s IPO, in which an SEC rule prevents companies from saying anything positive about the company. This is a ridiculous rule, and we urge the SEC to eliminate it, but nevertheless, it’s a rule.)
Anyway, it seems obvious to us that Groupon arranged to have this long, detailed missive, in which CEO Andrew Mason carefully addresses all of the concerns critics have lobbed at the company in recent months, published by a trusted media outlet, which in this case was News Corp’s All Things D.
And now some idiots are suggesting that what we were implying was that All Things D, News Corp, and legendary Valley reporter Kara Swisher are “accomplices” in Groupon’s secret plot to violate SEC rules.
It is no business of News Corp.’s whether Groupon wants to thumb its nose at the SEC.
The information that News Corp published–the email from Groupon CEO Andrew Mason to Groupon’s employees–was highly newsworthy and interesting. News Corp had every right to publish that email. (That’s what journalists are supposed to do–acquire and publish interesting information.) And if the SEC comes barreling in and accuses Groupon of violating “quiet period” rules by leaking the email to News Corp, that’s no one’s problem but Groupon’s.
In other words, Kara Swisher acted completely appropriately, and we thank her for bringing Groupon’s statement to our attention.
We do think Groupon is thumbing its nose at the SEC here, and we think it is dumb to do so. (If there’s one thing we can be certain about with respect to the SEC it’s that they don’t have a sense of humour.) But that’s not Kara’s problem.
And, by the way, if there’s anyone out there who is startled to learn that positive “scoops” about companies–like emails from CEOs defending themselves–are often arranged by the companies and their associated PR advisors, we have a question for you:
Were you born yesterday?