Google looking to acquire social commerce powerhouse Groupon

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Google is reportedly in negotiations to acquire social commerce juggernaut Groupon, with the firms discussing prices substantially above the $2 billion to $3 billion Yahoo offered the startup earlier this year. Citing multiple sources close to the talks, All Things Digital reports that negotiations are still ongoing, and far from complete; Groupon investors have repeatedly expressed a preference for the startup to remain independent, although banking partner Allen & Co. continues shopping it around. A Google spokesperson responds "Per usual, we don't comment on rumor or speculation. If we did we'd be busy 24/7!" while Groupon also declined comment, adding "Thanks for the heads up!"

Each day, Groupon presents bargains from retailers or restaurants spanning across more than 250 international markets; the offer is good only if a predetermined number of consumers take advantage within a 24-hour period--if the user minimum is met, everyone who signed up is charged for their purchase and mailed a link to redeem their Groupon, and if not, the deal is canceled. The startup encourages bargains that promote social interaction among users, like dining opportunities and spa treatments. According to the Groupon website, the service has saved shoppers close to $725 million since launching in late 2008, with almost 17 million coupons purchased to date.

Groupon introduced an application optimized for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and iPod touch in March 2010, enabling consumers to purchase, redeem and organize deals on the go. In addition, users can log in via Facebook Connect and map local Groupons in real time via the smartphone's GPS feature. In May, Groupon snapped up mob.ly, the mobile development firm behind the Goodrec recommendation service; financial details were not disclosed. With the mob.ly acquisition, Chicago-based Groupon also opened its first Silicon Valley office.

For more:
- read this All Things Digital article

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