Groupon Working on Global Consumer Deals


By Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Alistair Barr

NEW YORK, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Groupon Inc (GRPN) is working on cross-border and multi-country deals as the world's largest online daily deals provider looks for newer ways to build market share and help retailers broaden their footprint, a top executive said.

"That really is where we have added advantage, being in 48 countries," said Rajen Ruparell, vice president of global sales, speaking Friday at the Reuters Retail and Consumer Summit in New York.

"We can do national deals with retailers not only in the United States or Europe, but in countries where they would like to build their footprint in, and some of them are starting to realize that opportunity now," he said.

Once hailed as the fastest growing Internet company ever, Groupon has shed about three-quarters of its market value since its November 2011 debut on the Nasdaq. A sharp slowdown in revenue growth has raised questions about the sustainability of its business of selling discount vouchers online, and about its growth in the domestic market.

The stock was up 7.1 percent at $5.10 on Friday.

Global deals help the company build a common platform and negotiate better deals, said Ruparell. It is also something merchants want.

Ruparell, who took over as sales chief last month, said Groupon is in discussions to expand its deal with Rosetta Stone Inc (RST), helping take the language-learning software maker beyond the 10 countries where it operates.

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"One of the discussions we've been having actively with them is seeing how we can expand their global footprints outside of the U.S. into the mid-European countries," said Ruparell. He added there could be a Rosetta Stone deal in Russia within a week.

The company is also being more "aggressive in building inventory," while it irons out glitches in merchant tie-ups.

Users of Groupon often complain about second-tier treatment, especially for services in restaurants and similar industries where Groupon buyers often select from limited menus or choices.

Ruparell said the company hoped to do away such problems, and "a way to do that was to have a lot more inventory and more merchants."

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