Breaking: Groupon acquires German clone CityDeal

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We have just learned that German Groupon clone CityDeal has been acquired by the world’s original and leading collective coupon buying platform Groupon.

CityDeal, which was invested in by Rocket Internet, the incubator of the Samwer brothers, has raised around 20 million Euros and was heavily competing with their counterpart DailyDeal – another german Groupon clone backed by various internet celebrities such as Stefan Glänzer (Last.fm) and Michael Brehm (Studi.vz).

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, yet since CityDeal has only been active for around six months the trade-sale must have been worth it for it’s investors and shareholders. CityDeal is currently active in 80 cities, 16 countries and employs around 600 people around Europe. Within the next months CityDeal is going to pull on Groupon’s skin for their various country specific sites – including its name.

UPDATE According to sources close to the deal the transaction sum has been a “3-digit-million figure”. There is no indication of the exact sum, but given Groupon’s current amount of cash in the bank and the fact that CityDeal has “only” been active for some months, one can assume that it’s somewhere around $100 million, which is still a hefty pricetag.

Groupon’s CEO Andrew Mason officially commented on why they’ve chosen CityDeal over the other European Clones:

We knew that bringing Groupon to Europe wouldn’t be easy. Just adapting Groupon to suit the differences between Miami and Philadelphia is enough of a challenge that we knew we wouldn’t be able to succeed in Europe without amazing entrepreneurs with an intimate understanding of the local cultures.

With that in mind, we started meeting with the horde of European Groupon clones, looking for a team that would do Groupon justice in Europe. Unfortunately, we found them to be very much like the American knockoffs – without the strategic vision or operational chops to do much more than watch us and play Simon Says.

When we met Oliver Samwer – one of the founders of Citydeal – we were prepared for more of the same. Oliver and his two brothers are known for elevating the practice of cloning American business models in Europe into an art form, having successfully founded the German versions of eBay (eBay eventually bought them), Facebook, eHarmony, Zappos, and many more.

But after a few days with Oliver and the rest of the Citydeal management team, we realized that they were among the best operators we’d ever met. It was no wonder they’d become #1 in every one of their countries – in only five months, they’d even become larger than the largest Groupon knockoff in the U.S. It’s absolutely insane how quickly they’ve scaled, with 600 employees working from 80+ European cities, and already saving their customers over $5 million in April alone – their fourth month of operation.

Culturally, we saw the same qualities in the Citydeal team that we have at Groupon. Hardworking and scrappy, blindingly fast executors, refreshingly blunt, no appetite for petty politics, and passionate about pioneering a new model of commerce while wowing every last consumer and merchant they touched.

For those reasons, we think Groupon and Citydeal are a great match.

See also TechCrunch.com’s story.

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