Groupon Says No To Google as Mason goes Zuckerberg

Reports have it that Groupon will NOT be a part of Google's empire. But can it build one of it's own to rival the search giant's?

Reports are surfacing that confirm social commerce and daily-deal giant Groupon’s rejection of Google’s reported acquisition offer of $6 billion. The announcement comes on the heels of Amazon’s announcement of its $175 million investment into daily-deals No. 2 LivingSocial at the end of last week, when many in the industry felt a deal between Groupon and Google was imminent. Negotiations between the search powerhouse and Chicago-based Groupon supposedly stalled and ended last Friday, the Wall Street Journal reports. Many reports also state that Groupon’s board was divided on the decision, and at least one onlooker, venture capitalist Andrew Zalasin of RRE Ventures, has speculated that Groupon CEO Andrew Mason led the “don’t sell” charge. According to Bloomberg’s anonymous sources, Mason felt that an acquisition by Google “would sap employee morale and alienate business clients.” With over 3,000 employees, including 1,600 salespeople, serving 35 million users in more than 300 unique locales, Groupon spurned Google to protect one of its top assets: local market influence. The rejected offer, which AllThingsD reported as a total of $5.3 billion plus another $700 million in incentives, undoubtedly signals Mason’s intent to grow his daily-deals brand into a top-earning web giant on par with its current would-be acquirers. Indeed, Mason’s Groupon cleared the $500 million in annual sales mark faster than did Amazon and Google, so perhaps there is more savvy and less gamble the 30-year-old CEO’s industry-shaping decision to retain control. Taking a cue from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who once refused a $3 billion offer on Facebook from Microsoft, Mason looks to take his company’s valuation into the tens of billions with independent backing. Groupon, which would have easily been Google’s most expensive purchase to date, recently announced a coming “storefront” functionality, which will allow local retailers to set up their own daily deals, rather than waiting weeks or months for their turn at the head of Groupon’s “Deal of the Day” queue.

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