Some good news for the embattled daily-deals sector.LivingSocial, an Amazon-backed online marketing company known for its discounts for local businesses, just booked $8.6 million in revenues on Tuesday CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy told employees in an email—a one-day record for the company.
It is a much-needed reprieve for the Washington, D.C.-based company, which recently had to raise $110 million from existing investors on secretive—likely harsh—terms.
The sales boost came largely thanks to a discounted $45 offer for a Sam’s Club membership.
A source close to the company told Business Insider that the company shared revenues with the Wal-Mart Stores-owned retail chain, meaning that the deal was profitable for the company.
That’s a contrast to past deals LivingSocial ran with Whole Food Market and Starbucks, where many believe the company sold discounted gift certificates at a loss, or at best breakeven, in an effort to sign up customers.
LivingSocial recorded $536 million in revenues in 2012, up from $250 million in 2011, according to disclosures made in Amazon’s SEC filings. It experienced heavy losses, largely from noncash charges related to acquisitions.
Jeremy Liew, who led Lightspeed Venture Partners’ investment in LivingSocial, told PandoDaily in October that the company was cash-flow positive and gaining share against Groupon, shortly after it laid off 400 employees.
LivingSocial’s subsequent fundraising, though, raises questions about what happened to LivingSocial’s cash position in the intervening months.
Amazon owned a 29 per cent stake in LivingSocial before the most recent investment round, having invested $175 million in the company in 2011. It took a $169 million writedown on that investment last year.
While that deal technically had investors buying 7.5% of the company for $110 million, the investment came with terms that required a large payback in the case of a sale or IPO. So it is not clear how much of LivingSocial Amazon effectively owns.
Under Alaskan law, where it is registered as an out-of-state corporation, LivingSocial is required to file its current shareholders with state regulators. It has not complied with that requirement yet, though the company has told us it is in the process of correcting that apparent oversight.
Here’s the email O’Shaughnessy sent:
Subject: Records were made to be broken
With the Sam’s Club promotion powering us once again, we set another NEW record in global sales for the day, with $8.6mm yesterday. Additionally, if we sell 146,012 Sam’s Club vouchers (about 2k more as of this writing), we’ll set a new record for largest Net Billings deal ever.
We still have much work to do to hit our targets for the month, quarter and year, but the last few days have been a nice way to get off to a solid start in March.
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