Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) received some love from investors on Tuesday. Shares climbed as much as 3.5 percent, pushing the to 5 percent gains for the five-day period and year-to-date gains of just over 8 percent.
The big news on Tuesday is Groupon’s acquisition of MashLogic, a five-year-old start-up that created Britely, a contextual browser plugin that allows users to highlight and store web content as they browse. According to PandoDaily, MashLogic raised $3.9 million in over its lifespan, with most of the financing coming from a $2.5 million Series A round in 2009.
It’s important to point out that Groupon isn’t acquiring MashLogic for the Britely plugin. The Britely blog states that the will be shuttered on February 18, suggesting that Groupon bought the start-up in order to acquire its talent, which according to the company’s website is a team of eight. This type of takeover seems to be in line with other recent purchases.
Groupon’s chart suggests the company has fallen on hard times. Shares are off 72.4 percent year over year, and that type of negative movement could make it hard to attract top talent. Hard, but not impossible. There’s the potential for a turnaround story here somewhere, and that’s an attractive scenario for a lot of smart people.
As of the end of last quarter, Groupon had $1.2 billion in cash, and it’s not just sitting idly on all that cash. AllThingsD points out that the company recently bought Glassmap and CommerceInterface, each with its own unique value to add to Groupon’s commerce platform.
Glassmap developed a location-based deals discovery app that allows to target users based on their interests, activity, and — most importantly — location. Glassmap also shut down its service in order for the team to integrate into Groupon, once again suggesting that Groupon is more interested in the talent than the product.
There’s no hiding the fact that Amazon is king of the jungle. Once upon a time there was a pretty clear line that differentiated Groupon from Amazon, but that line has blurred with time. Amazon has introduced deals services that in many ways compete with Groupon, forcing the more socially-oriented company to innovate rapidly or be crushed by Amazon’s sheer size.
While Google’s foray into e-commerce is less substantial, it would be imprudent to ignore it. The company has signaled its interest in the space with its own local deals initiatives, testing its platform at a small scale. Between Google Offers and Google Wallet, the search giant has a fairly robust offering.
It’s worth pointing out that Groupon has been on a tear recently, gaining nearly 100 percent on the chart since the middle of November. The rally began, oddly enough, after a third-quarter earnings flop.
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