Report: Google close to buying Groupon

Google is close to a deal to buy Groupon, the online discounter, for as much as $6 billion, the New York Times is reporting.

A deal, in the $5 billion to $6 billion range, could be struck as soon as this week, people with direct knowledge of the negotiations told the Times. They cautioned that the talks still could fall apart.

At that price, Groupon — known for its daily discounts — would be one of Google’s largest acquisitions, dwarfing Google’s $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick in 2007, the display advertising giant, the Times writes.

The acquisition would also be Google’s boldest foray into local business online advertising, a large and untapped market it has been trying to get into, the Times reports.

Since its founding in 2008, Groupon has been growing at a nearly unprecedented pace, the Times writes. The company, whose name is a combination of “group” and “coupon,” specializes in providing customers with discounts purchased in bulk. Subscribers receive notifications of one deal a day, tailored to their location and profile. The average Groupon deal offers between 50 percent to 90 percent off retail goods and services, the Times reports.

What do you think about this deal?

Does Google’s involvement excite or worry you? Do you think Google is trying to take over the world or just being an aggressive competitor?

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

39 comments Add your comment

TnGelding

November 30th, 2010
5:50 am

I’d never heard of Groupon, but at first blush I’d say it’s paying too much. But then when you’re sitting on $30+ billion in cash I guess you have a margin of error.

I’ve been trying to get the AJC to discontinue the print edition for years, to no avail. Why can’t it tap into some of that GOOG revenue?

Dual Income No Kids

November 30th, 2010
6:28 am

My wife and I try to only shop at stores that offer a groupon. Google is smart.

troothsayer

November 30th, 2010
6:39 am

Never heard of ‘em…..and I am a faithful Clark Howard kinda shopper !! I don’t understand the logic of buying a company that no one’s heard of instead just starting something similar……..

bigguy

November 30th, 2010
6:48 am

wow…didn’t know groupon was that big. this gives it credibillity

holliday

November 30th, 2010
7:14 am

Just because one has never heard of Groupon does not mean it is not a huge and viable business. There are millions of people who use its discounts to avail themselves to products and services they otherwise would not try or could not afford. It is a boon to both consumers and businesses who are looking for an affordable way to get their names touted in the marketplace.

troothsayer, don’t make assumptions based on your own lack of knowledge of a subject. When was the last time you ran a multimillion dollar company or put together a multibillion dollar acquisition? Do you know how much it would have cost Google to start up something similar? How do you know $6 billion isn’t a relative bargain?

Newspaper_Listener

November 30th, 2010
7:48 am

Troothsayer, Clark Howard is the one who first turned me on to Groupon. Him and his staff talk about it with some regularity on the air. The deals are hit or miss, but when they hit, wow are they good. Should check em and their competitor Scoutmob out.

Lando

November 30th, 2010
7:51 am

This is troubling for Iphone users. Groupon is a very popular app on the Android OS, which powers the Droid line of phones. For those that don’t know, Android has eclipsed RIM(Blackberry) in record time and it within striking distance of supplanting Apple as the Number 1 OS system for smartphones. What is troubling is, since Google controls Android, how long will it be before developers of Apps decided to just make Apps for Android and not Apple(especially if there is a possible billion dollar buyout). The App market powers both the Iphone’s growth and the Android’s growth. If Google were to control the App market, then the days of Iphone may be numbered.

nosepilot

November 30th, 2010
8:03 am

A blow to Apple may not be seen as negative to some. Apple has dealt a blow to Adobe and websites who rely on Adobe’s Flash technology not supported on Apple portable devices. Apple is banking on the death of Flash. Google’s success in undermining Apple’s portables devices would be welcome by some.

LA

November 30th, 2010
8:06 am

Love Groupon. I have been using it for a couple of years now and its a great deal on things. Especially those “non-essentials” that are fun like going to the aquarium and special outings. I am in my late 20’s and its definitely a part of my generation, I know lots of friends who use Groupon all the time, so don’t pass it over because you haven’t heard of it. They offer great deals for those who bargain hunt.

Phil Salet

November 30th, 2010
8:12 am

Groupon is a LARGE presence on Internet advertising. If you go to any discount site it is very likely they are advertising on it. Furthermore, Groupon makes it where they pay nothing up front as well as their advertiser, the revenue generated is from collecting the money and emailing back a gift certificate. The advertiser gets exposure and their budget is based on how many use their services. Example–The Gap partnered with Groupon with a 1 day coupon with an offer to promote their 1969 jeans, spend $25 and get a $50 gift certificate. It went nationwide and generated over $12 million dollars in 1 day, one of the largest if not the largest 1 day promotion ever for The Gap. Groupon keeps a majority of the revenue and sends the remaining percentage to the client. Groupon has a huge office and does spend an appropriate amount on marketing and advertising. They do have a growing competition with sites like Social Living for example, you simply sign up and they send an e-mail every morning for a deal of the day in your local market. Last, Groupon just started promotion Grouponicus (assuming Groupon, Economics) which list more choices than the traditional 1 offer. Walmart is on board as well as all your local Atlanta attractions such as pro sport teams, Stone Mtn. Park, Georgia Aquarium, etc. I do know today that Walmart has a promotion, just go to groupon.com Look at all this FREE publicity Groupon just got from this article which in turn gives FREE advertisng to their huge client base. As a local owner of a arketing company that drives small business, the Groupon model is smart, very smart. Google knows what their doing!

Jennifer

November 30th, 2010
8:21 am

I hope google can do a better job showing the deals than groupon. Maybe something similar to http://grouponbot.com

Doug

November 30th, 2010
8:22 am

TnGelding- I am confused how you could have never heard of a company, but then say in your opinion they paid to much. It’s kind of hard to drawn that conclusion when you have no idea what the company does, their profit margins, or what their revenue streams are. You can’t tap into “that goog revenue” because they are looking at companies that the Masses are using. Trying to get a company (Ajc) to stop their core business and revenue maker could be the dumbest ides I have ever heard. What’s next, asking Delta to stop flying………

JesusFreak

November 30th, 2010
8:40 am

I love Groupon, it is a great site with great deals. Google is always on the cutting edge so this is a logical acquisition.

PMC

November 30th, 2010
9:07 am

So it’s Goop-on now?

Dave

November 30th, 2010
9:10 am

troothsayer – if you haven’t heard of Groupon, then you need to get out of the closet. Seriously.

JD

November 30th, 2010
9:22 am

I love Groupon! I do not like the idea of everything we touch being owned by one company though.

ummmmmmmmmmmmm

November 30th, 2010
9:25 am

btw for those who do not know groupon is the fastest growing company EVER! Forbes ran a great article on the company…google it…

TnGelding

November 30th, 2010
9:40 am

Doug

November 30th, 2010
8:22 am

$6 billion? Ain’t no way it’s worth that much.

Duh, the newspaper business is obsolete. Change might be inevitable, but it sure is slow. Online advertising is where it’s at. Just think of the natural resources it would save, not to mention the man hours required to print. The mere cost and waste of delivering the papre should give them, and you, a clue.

bbb

November 30th, 2010
9:42 am

Groupon is great! lso checkout scoutmbob and Halfoffdepot in Atlanta. Great deals for upcoming Christmas gifts and dinners.

TnGelding

November 30th, 2010
9:43 am

Maybe Delta should stop flying, and the other airlines, too. If man was meant to fly we’d have wings. Again, think of the tremendous amount of resources that would be saved. Stay and see Georgia!

TnGelding

November 30th, 2010
9:45 am

Consumerism is alive and well in the good ole USA! Is cheaper always better?

ATLDawg, ya dig?

November 30th, 2010
9:47 am

bbb beat me to it. ScoutMob is a great local version of Groupon and has some insights into “goings on” To the early posters – check Groupon out. It offers incredible deals on a pretty diverse range of products – from restaraunts to retail to half-off helicopter rides through downtown Atlanta. All kinds of stuff.

Couponsrcool

November 30th, 2010
9:50 am

Love Groupon got cheap Falcons tickets with great seats. Google is savvy to go after Groupon.

TnGelding

November 30th, 2010
9:53 am

If done properly, AJC revenue would grow and it could keep the people currently employed printing and distributing the paper to perform community service work if it so desired. Or just pay them not to work as so many companies are willing to do these days.

Discountbaby

November 30th, 2010
10:52 am

Wow – that’s huge! There are so many of these sites out there today – interesting that they chose groupon. Here’s a link for those of you who have not signed up for groupon yet:
http://www.groupon.com/r/uu5004905

Masters Degree

November 30th, 2010
10:59 am

I can gurantee you that a large number of Groupons go unclamied! I know that I have one I paid for and never used.

Angela

November 30th, 2010
11:13 am

I don’t know how anyone hasn’t heard of Groupon (or at least one of the other companies just like it, such as LivingSocial). And if you haven’t heard of it, then how can you comment on the viability of the deal?
On another note, Groupon is also a great tool for small businesses. I know a jewelry maker who recently made $42,000 in 48 hours selling Groupons for her necklaces and pendants.

B4life

November 30th, 2010
11:37 am

I love Groupon, Living Social, Halfoffdepot, et. al. However, what is appealing is that you DON’T have to deal with advertising. The actual deal is the advertisement. I know the founders of Groupon are in for a big payday, but as a consumer, I dread the rebranding that’s going to happen when Google takes over. Now, someone from the business or Groupon quickly responds to questions in the discussion section which gives it a more personal feel. I can see Google thinking that’s not efficiency. Some things are left better untouched.

Earth to People

November 30th, 2010
12:00 pm

Anyone who hasn’t heard of Groupon or Living Social should not have a permit to drive… with the amount of ads they run ON THIS SITE you’d have to have some serious attention deficit not to at least notice.

Tjazzy

November 30th, 2010
12:11 pm

For those who have never heard of Groupon- You are missing out on a great way to save money And get some really good discounts on things you probably use all the time. Google is getting in on a growing trend that promises way more than the 6 mil in revenues. I was just clued in to Groupon about 2 months ago and use the deals regularly.

tukute

November 30th, 2010
12:25 pm

I actually have Groupon in Atlanta and Las Vegas and will be opening one up for Dallas. I buy the deals for my friends and family as gifts. They love it. They even now have their own accounts. My girlfriends and I plan our evenings and playdays around them now. I just hope that with Google there will still be great deals, maybe more.

Willie Wonka

November 30th, 2010
12:43 pm

My Groupon arrives in my email box faithfully every day. I’ve bought and used a few without any problem. An article stated that Groupon keeps 50% of the payment and the company offering the deal keeps the other 50%. I’m not sure how they make money off that, but they must hope for repeat business.

Mikkie

November 30th, 2010
12:53 pm

You’ve never heard of Groupon?! where the heck have you been? I think it’s a great deal! groupon is one of the biggest things on the market and I am a faithful user of the deals. My friends in various other cities use the service as well. Why go and start a similar service when there is an opportunity to simply build/expand on an existing and ever growing market with a company that has already made a name for itself and has a loyal following. Great opportunity for Google.

Ted Striker

November 30th, 2010
1:05 pm

I’ve been using groupon for about a year and a half. Unlike a few folks who commented earlier, I don’t see the acquisition as a big point of concern to Apple. I check groupon via my email, not an iPhone app. It’s easy to get app overload.

TnGelding

November 30th, 2010
5:29 pm

I said at first blush.

You penny-pinching folks are damaging our traditional economy and creating billionaire geeks. And you wonder where the jobs went?

Peanuts2157

November 30th, 2010
7:58 pm

Start your own business in 2011! Visit http://gboogie.net for free information on business start ups and business credit!

TnGelding

November 30th, 2010
8:55 pm

I haven’t noticed the Groupon ads because over 45 years we’ve accumulated so much stuff we’re liquidating instead of acquiring. And we’re still living in the dark ages as far as communication gadgets go.

Goopon or Grouple

November 30th, 2010
8:59 pm

Goopon or Grouple will be a big hit if for nothing other than the name.

Data Driven Marketing

November 30th, 2010
11:06 pm

Great article and an even better opportunity for Google. It’ll really help them out in the local business market. And with Google’s infrastructure behind them, perhaps Groupon’s site will be a little more stable and stop crashing whenever there is a good deal or a lot of publicity. I think the $6B number being discussed is a fair number given the situation, despite what they naysayers might think. Here’s to hoping this one goes through.

-C
http://www.datadrivendigitalmarketing.com