As Google rumors swirl, Groupon goes on buying spree

groupon.gi.top.jpg By Laurie Segall, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- As speculation about Google's ongoing acquisition discussions with Groupon hits a fever pitch, the daily deals site went out and did a string of acquisitions of its own. Groupon said Wednesday it has acquired Ludic Labs, a San Mateo, Calif., startup that runs a self-service advertising and deals platform for local businesses.

Ludic brings with it a small staff -- less than 50 people, according to Groupon's spokeswoman -- who will join Groupon's staff of more than 3,000 people worldwide. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Ludic's venture capital backers include Accel Partners, which is also a heavy investor in Groupon.

The Ludic deal comes just one day after Groupon snapped up three international daily-deal sites, which it will use to launch Groupon sites in Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and Taiwan. Those sites will roll out in the coming months, Groupon said.

Some of its acquired targets share Groupon's hypergrowth characteristics: Atlaspost, the Taiwanese site Groupon snapped up, launched in August and now has more than 1.2 million users.

Groupon, based in Chicago, also announced Wednesday plans to significantly expand its Silicon Valley presence. A new Palo Alto office will expand from 25 people to more than 100 within the next year, the company said.

Groupon is widely rumored to be in intense negotiations with Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., over a potential buyout. The company acknowledged the media frenzy with a touch of sarcasm in its press release about its Ludic deal, writing: "'Unfortunately we cannot comment on speculation or rumors about our business,' said Andrew Mason, founder and chief executive officer of Groupon, for some reason."

Mason took a similarly mocking tone in fielding questions from the New York Times about the Google rumors. In the quote that launched a thousand tweets, he told the newspaper that he would talk "only if you want to talk about my other passion, building miniature dollhouses."

Mason has not yet responded to Fortune's request for an interview on the subject of dollhouses. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,982.59 22.02 0.13%
Nasdaq 4,444.91 0.00 0.00%
S&P 500 1,978.91 0.57 0.03%
Treasuries 2.49 0.02 0.89%
Data as of 3:47am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 99.02 1.35 1.38%
Facebook Inc 74.92 -0.27 -0.36%
Bank of America Corp... 15.50 -0.09 -0.58%
Dollar Tree Inc 54.87 -0.08 -0.15%
Family Dollar Stores... 75.74 15.08 24.86%
Data as of Jul 28

Sections

Herbalife shares tumble after the maker of nutritional supplements reports earnings that fall short of analysts' estimates. More

New annual report from U.S. government shows the long-term prognosis for Medicare has improved thanks to slower health spending, while the outlook for Social Security remains unchanged. More

Online dating site OkCupid found its users were more likely to have conversations when it told them they were more compatible than in reality. More

Actor-founded This Bar Saves Lives had Hollywood connections, but learned Start-Up 101 the hard way. More

Steve Mason, a pastor from California, inherited more than $100,000 in student loan debt when his 27-year-old daughter died suddenly in 2009. With interest and late penalties, the debt has since ballooned to $200,000. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.