Russian Internet investment group Digital Sky Technologies, which bought a $300 million stake in Facebook last year, has led a $135 million investment round in Chicago-based social-commerce website Groupon.
DST and co-investor Battery Ventures said most of the money would be used to fund global expansion at Groupon, which uses collective buying power to secure large discounts on activities, meals and goods for its millions of customers.
Groupon operates in more than 50 cities, and features daily deals on its website (www.groupon.com). It says it has saved its customers more than $150 million since starting up in late 2008.
The company is an offshoot of The Point (www.thepoint.com), an online community launched in 2007 for organizing group action. Groupon has just launched in Toronto, Canada -- its first non-U.S. site -- and plans to expand to London.
This investment underscores our view that social networking and community-based activity will drive, shape and define the Web's evolution in the years ahead, DST Chief Executive Yuri Milner said in a statement on Monday.
DST also holds a stake in social game company Zynga, which makes games for social networks including Facebook and News Corp's MySpace and profits by selling virtual goods.
China's most valuable Internet firm, Tencent Holdings said last week it would invest $300 million to buy a 10 percent economic stake in DST, with 0.5 percent of voting rights.
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by David Cowell)