Why Groupon Really Turned Down Google's $6 Billion Offer

andrew masonAndrew Mason turned down Google.

Photo: RetailRoadshow

Google offered to buy Groupon, then a two-year-old local e-commerce startup, for $5.75 billion in the fall of 2010.But the deal fell through for three main reasons, according to writer Frank Sennett, the author of a forthcoming book on the company.

  • Google offered a $800 million breakup fee. That wasn’t enough, given the uncertainty over whether antitrust regulators would allow the deal to go through.
  • Some investors, chiefly Accel’s Kevin Efrusy, believed Groupon had room to grow.
  • A top researcher working for Groupon, Nitin Sharma—who had just joined the company from Google months before—persuaded the board that Groupon could increase its revenues tenfold by making better use of data.

Those details come from an excerpt published by the Wall Street Journal from Groupon’s Biggest Deal Ever, which comes out June 5.

By December, the deal was off. And Groupon set a course for an IPO. Within less than a year it was public.

Of course, that hasn’t gone smoothly. But even after seeing its stock price fall by more than half from the IPO price, Groupon is still worth more than what Google offered.


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