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Groupon to Lay Off or Furlough 2,800 Workers, Initiates Poison Pill

By Eric Volkman - Apr 15, 2020 at 8:09AM

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The company announced a series of measures to rationalize and protect its business.

Hammered by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, Groupon (GRPN -10.26%) is taking significant measures to protect its business. These include a big set of furloughs and layoffs, and a new "poison pill" defense for its shareholders.

The online discount specialist revealed in a regulatory filing that it will let go of around 2,800 employees worldwide, either through layoffs or furloughs. This number comprises over 40% of the company's total workforce. As with other restructuring measures the company is taking, the job dismissals will occur in a series of phases over the coming months.

Scissors cutting a 100 dollar bill.

Image source: Getty Images.

Groupon will also leverage its goods category, in which it sells physical products, to help its finances in the near-term. Following that, it will phase it down but not exit it entirely, as previously planned.

Other measures the company is taking during the period include implementing a hiring freeze, pulling back on marketing initiatives, and eliminating cash compensation for the non-executive members of its board of directors (although they will receive equity).

A rights plan has also been implemented. Under the plan, which is temporary and expires on March 10, 2021, each stockholder receives one right per share they own. If an investor gains a stake of 10% or more of the company's common stock, the rights held by the remaining shareholders would entitle them to purchase more stock. The "triggering" party's rights would become void.

This is widely known as a "poison pill," a measure or measures used to prevent takeovers when a company's stock is weak or volatile.

On Tuesday, in contrast to the broader equities market and numerous top stocks, Groupon shares declined by 1.9%.


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