Ailing ecommerce site Groupon gets US$250 million infusion

The Groupon Singapore office located at UE Square in Clemenceau Avenue.
The Groupon Singapore office located at UE Square in Clemenceau Avenue. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Groupon, the daily deals ecommerce operator which has been struggling since a hot public share offering, said Monday it received a US$250 million (S$337 million) investment from a private investment fund.

Groupon said it would use the cash infusion from Atairos to boost share repurchases and to revive growth.

"Our partnership with Atairos will help accelerate our transformation while better positioning us to execute on our strategy and mission to build the daily habit in local commerce - which we continued to make progress on in the first quarter," said Groupon chief executive Rich Williams.

"I am extremely pleased that a respected, long-term oriented partner like Atairos shares our view about the vast opportunity ahead for Groupon." Atairos, which calls itself "an independent private company focused on supporting growth-oriented businesses across a wide range of industries," was launched earlier this year with more than US$4 billion in capital and is led by Michael Angelakis, former chief financial officer of Comcast.

Angelakis will join the Groupon board as part of the investment agreement.

Groupon said it would add US$200 million (S$270 million) to its share buyback plan, a move which could help boost its sagging stock price.

Groupon went public in 2011 amid enthusiasm over its model of offering deals on a variety of products and services. But it has been struggling amid consumer fatigue in the "daily deals" category.

After a debut on the Nasdaq at US$20 (S$27), Groupon shares have been in a tailspin, falling as low as US$2.15 (S$2.90) earlier this year and closing Friday at US$3.92.

Groupon shares were pointing to a higher opening Monday in pre-market action.

In its most recent quarterly results, Groupon posted a net loss of US$46.5 million (S$62.8 million).