Partnerships / Acquisitions

Groupon Says It Wants To Be Bought

Groupon, the daily deal website operator, is reportedly looking for a buyer and has been reaching out to potential buyers.

According to a report in Recode citing two people briefed on the approaches, Groupon executives and bankers who represent the daily deal site operator have reached out to several companies that are public during the last month to sell itself. Recode reported Groupon has made it know that it was open to selling the company — executives and bankers for the company have become more aggressive in the pursuit during the past month. It’s not clear if Groupon’s efforts have been successful and if a suitor will emerge, noted the report.

Currently, Groupon has a valuation of about $2.4 billion, lower than in the past after seeing the daily deal market decline during the past few years. Its competitor, LivingSocial, was acquired by Groupon in 2016 for free. To address the slowing market, Groupon most recently has been focusing on its digital voucher business and less on hawking goods for a discounted price. The idea is to boost its margins with the focus. According to Recode, potential suitors could include China’s Alibaba and IAC. The two were cited in the past as potential suitors, given Alibaba has a close to 6 percent stake in Groupon and IAC’s chief executive Joey Levin sits on Groupon’s board.

The efforts to find a seller come shortly after Groupon announced in May it added American Express to its platform. The free-to-claim, cash-back deals program is now available in about 25 U.S. markets, the company said in an announcement at the time. Once the partnership is fully in place, offers at thousands of participating restaurants in Groupon+ cities will be available for American Express Card Members — without the need for paper vouchers or even handing over their phones. Aaron Cooper, Groupon’s president of North America, said in the announcement,“We’re thrilled to add American Express to our growing Groupon+ program — giving us the three largest payment networks in North America. Groupon+ removes the hassles associated with using a Groupon voucher at local restaurants and makes it super easy for people to take advantage of great offers when they use their enrolled card to dine out in their neighborhood.”

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