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April 30, 2013

LivingSocial Cuts Operating Losses by about Half in First Quarter

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

LivingSocial (News - Alert) got attention last week for falling victim to a massive cyber-attack. But there was also hopeful Q1 financial news for the struggling daily-deals company.

“The … company cut its operating losses nearly in half during the period as revenue surged and cost-cutting efforts took hold,” according to a report from The Washington Post.

During Q1, LivingSocial saw an operating loss of $44 million, compared to a $91 million operating loss during Q1 of 2012. The company saw a net loss of $50 million for Q1, a drop from the $135 million profit seen during 2012.

Also, Q1 2013 revenue increased to $135 million, compared to $110 million during Q1 of 2012.

“LivingSocial’s reduced losses, a rare bright spot in recent months, likely reflects the massive cost-cutting and reorganization the company undertook over the past year, including closing many overseas operations and eliminating 400 jobs in the United States in November, with 160 of those in the District [of Columbia],” The Post added.

In addition, during March co-founder Aaron Batalion said he was leaving LivingSocial.

Mary Song, CEO of Propel Media, told The Post the daily deals sector as a whole is facing “a lot of problems.” There are buyers who do not use their coupons or who stop buying deals altogether.

“I think [the company] has a future,” Song said of LivingSocial after hearing the Q1 results. “What you will see in 2013 is they will cut their losses, restructure, come out and survive as a company.”

She also predicts LivingSocial will use smartphones more to deliver deals to consumers. Mobile apps are the future. LivingSocial is now also offering travel getaways, restaurant takeout and live events, The Post reported. (News - Alert) owns 29 percent of LivingSocial and has invested some $200 million in in the company, making an additional $56 million investment during Q1. The Washington Business Journal says that “footed half of the daily deal company's most recent funding round.”

In February, LivingSocial was valued at about $1.5 billion, less than what it was valued two years ago, the report adds.

CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy predicts that LivingSocial will soon see a profit.

On Friday, the company announced that 50 million accounts, representing 70 percent of its subscribers, were compromised by hackers according to TMCnet. The hackers got access to “names, email addresses, date of birth for some users, and encrypted passwords,” according to a company internal memo. The cyber-thieves did not gain access to banking or financial information from merchants, nor credit card information from users.

Edited by Alisen Downey
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