Daily deals and local commerce site Groupon has announced an acquisition to ramp up its operations in discount offers and specifically those tied to loyalty programs. The company has acquired Bristol, UK-based Cloud Savings Company, the owner of Vouchercloud and Giftcloud, in a deal that Groupon said has an enterprise value of $ 65 million.
The deal will give Groupon a boost in two areas: via Giftcloud, building out loyalty programs for brands and retailers who are already using the Groupon platform; and via Vouchercloud, tapping into an extensive network of discount codes — and people who hunt for and use these — to complement and amplify the direct offers that Groupon already offers on its platform today.
Vouchercloud is active in 11 countries and Groupon says its biggest market is the UK, where it has over 5 million subscribers and 12,000 top retailers and brands using its platform. The mobile app is also popular and has clocked up 10 million downloads globally.
Cloud Savings Company was already profitable.
“We’re pleased to add two great, profitable brands and very talented teams to the Groupon family,” said Groupon CEO Rich Williams in a statement. “In Vouchercloud, we’re acquiring one of the most innovative brands in the online discount codes space, which we believe will accelerate our own efforts — particularly in International — and broaden our marketplace for consumers. In Giftcloud, we see interesting long-term potential in creating attractive customer loyalty programs with some of the biggest names in retail, as well as with great local merchants.”
Groupon has been somewhat quiet on the acquisition front lately after a spate of purchases several years ago to help the company move deeper into commerce solutions and working more directly with local merchants, and then a subsequent contraction of the business that saw Groupon move out of some of these newer areas (for example selling off its point-of-sale business) close and sell a number of international operations, and lay off staff.
This acquisition is notable because it’s a turn away from that strategy, focusing instead on offers that can apply irrespective of your specific city location. (Groupon’s core service and daily offers remain banked around a specific city or other location.)
On the side of Cloud Savings Company, the business has been in a transition of its own: gift cards have mainly been designed as physical objects, resembling credit or other payment cards, but as retailers work on ways of both bringing down those costs and better tracking who is buying what, in order to capitalize better on that purchasing history, “cards” are becoming virtual cards in mobile wallets. That is something that Giftcloud is also developing, and plans to continue with Groupon (which has built out its service in part by way of a popular mobile app).
“We’re very excited for Vouchercloud and Giftcloud to join the Groupon family. We recognize the potential in combining our expertise in the coupon sector to enhance our offerings for consumers in the UK and beyond,” said Greg Le Tocq, co-founder and director of Cloud Savings Company, in a statement. “In joining together, we can create even more — and more effective — ways for customers to save and businesses to grow. We equally look forward to working with Groupon to grow the Giftcloud business, as we continue to be at the forefront of innovation while the gift card industry moves from plastic to digital.”
Groupon will be bringing on Cloud Savings’ 100 employees and keeping them based out of their current offices in Bristol. It said that it expects the deal to contribute $ 5 million to $ 6 million in Adjusted EBITDA in 2018.