Groupon says no to Google’s billions
Groupon, the group buying and discount voucher website, has reportedly turned down a bumper offer from Google, the world's largest search engine. Google is understood to have tabled a bid worth $6 billion, but it was not enough to tempt Groupon's owners. The news has prompted speculation about Groupon's plans, with talk of a possible forthcoming IPO.
The story has two interesting angles. First is Google's policy of growth through acquisition. Groupon is just the latest target for Google, which has snapped up more than 80 businesses since 2001 to improve and broaden its offerings.
YouTube is perhaps the highest profile Google buyout, but at $1.6 billion that deal would have been dwarfed by the Groupon acquisition had it gone through. Google's biggest purchase to date was the PPC specialist DoubleClick, which went for over $3 billion back in 2007.
The breadth of Google's empire undoubtedly helps it to learn more about how people behave online, which in turn allows it to continually tweak its search algorithm. It also helps ensure that Google keeps its substantial share of eye-ball time whether we're searching, sending emails or fiddling with spreadsheets.
The second angle of interest is Groupon itself, which is a pretty remarkable story even for an internet company. Formed just two years ago, Groupon is now active in over 300 markets and 35 different countries.
It offers big discounts on the condition that enough people take part, bringing a social media element to e-commerce and the big, big online discount voucher trend. It's a great pitch and one that Google at least now values at a whopping $6 billion.