If you owned a deal-of-the-day website, how hard would it be to turn down a $6 billion buyout offer from Google
? Probably really difficult, but Groupon didn't bat an eye when it told Google to take a hike. That's hard to fathom. According to reports, each board member would have received millions, if not hundreds of millions by signing on the dotted line. And what about Groupon co-founders Brady Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky? They would have cashed out with $600 million (Keywell) and $1.8 billion (Lefkosfky). So how on earth did they manage to turn down the offer?
Maybe they didn't. According to a report in Business Insider, Google's Marissa Mayer hinted that the deal may not have been nixed, but in need of more time (a strategy). Speaking at the Le Web conference in Paris, Mayer said that "the larger the company, the more complicated the deal is," and the more time it will take.
It wasn't that Groupon's board wanted to turn down the deal, but they felt forced to do so because of regulatory concerns, BI says. Google is already involved in two separate antitrust investigations, and many believe that a $6 billion buyout of Groupon would have put a regulatory microscope on the company like never before. In a worst case scenario, months could go by before Groupon's board would receive word that the deal was being blocked.
The issue, then, came down to wanting a break-up fee if the board was to accept Google's offer, and that's where the deal ultimately fell through, at least for now. Google offered DoubleClick a $700 million kill fee should things go south when it acquired the company for $750 million, and BI says Groupon wanted the same type of protection. It's unclear just how much Groupon requested, but whatever the number, it was Google, not Groupon, that ultimately said no.
Even though the deal didn't go through, Groupon still benefited. The botched deal gave the company tons of exposure, which reportedly added 4 million email subscribers last week alone.