Groupon Acquires Plumfare, Pushes Mobile Efforts

by , Aug 13, 2013, 3:23 PM
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Continuing its mobile reinvention, Groupon has acquired mobile discovery app Plumfare for an undisclosed sum.

Groupon, however, is being oddly quiet about the transaction -- which was first reported by VentureBeat. “I can confirm the acquisition, but we have nothing else to add at this time,” Nicholas Halliwell, public relations manager at Groupon, said on Tuesday.

Trying to distinguish itself from a slew of apps that help people find local restaurants, Plumfare encourages users to take pictures of their dishes and then share them with the world.

“[Plumfare] has some functionality that seems to overlap with what would be on [Groupon's] product road map anyway, so it probably makes sense for them,” Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali said of the deal.

Despite recent management issues -- and doubts about the future of the daily deal space -- Groupon is well-positioned for the current mobile boom. Worldwide, more than 50 million people have downloaded the company’s mobile app -- 7.5 million of whom did so in the second quarter alone.

As a result, nearly 50% of company revenues now come from mobile purchases, CEO Eric Lefkofsky boasted on a quarterly earnings call last week. Groupon is “uniquely positioned to lead in the world of mobile commerce."

Overall, Groupon reported revenue growth of 7% to $608.7 million in the second quarter of the year and growth of 45% in North America. The number of active customers who purchased a Groupon within the last 12 months was up 12% year-over-year to 42.6 million -- and 19.1 million of them were in North America.

Plumfare, meanwhile, is hardly the first startup that Groupon has gobbled up. Earlier this year, for example, the daily deal leader bought location-aware app Glassmap.

“Groupon has acquired a bunch of companies over the last few years -- they seem to be mostly acquihires,” Forrester’s Mulpuru-Kodali added. “Talented engineers are in scarce supply, especially when you're no longer the hottest startup around, so you have to sometimes buy talent, and this is a way to do that.”

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