January 13, 2014, 10:11 AM

Groupon buys flash-sale e-retailer ideeli

No longer just a marketer of discount vouchers, Groupon moves more deeply into directly selling goods online with today’s acquisition of a Top 500 e-retailer. Ideeli focuses on designer apparel and had an estimated $145 million worth of web sales in 2012.

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Groupon Inc. is buying flash-sale e-retailer ideeli Inc. for $43 million in cash. The deal is expected to close today.

The move, which the daily-deal operator announced today, continues Groupon’s push beyond selling discount vouchers to selling physical goods. In particular, it positions Groupon to broaden its selection of fashion apparel, ideeli’s specialty. The daily-deal operator’s Groupon Goods division sold $454.7 million worth of physical goods in 2012, a sharp rise from $20.8 million a year earlier. It opened its first distribution center in November.

By acquiring ideeli, Groupon adds a retailer that sold an Internet Retailer-estimated $145 million in 2012, according to Internet Retailer’s Top500Guide.com. Ideeli also has significantly higher average order value than Groupon. Ideeli’s average ticket was $170 in 2012, according to Internet Retailer estimates available on Top500Guide.com. Groupon’s was $40.

“Ideeli extends our fashion presence and brings great relationships with many of the top brands in apparel,” says Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky. “Our customers have a demonstrated appetite for these offers, and by broadening our reach in this space Groupon is even better positioned as the place you start when you want to do or buy just about anything, anytime, anywhere.”

Chicago-based Groupon, No. 65 in the 2013 Top 500 Guide, say ideeli will maintain its New York headquarters. Groupon will continue to operate ideeli, No. 154, as a separate e-commerce site.

“Groupon’s brand, reach and vision as an e-commerce destination make it a tremendous place to continue to grow our company,” says ideeli CEO Stefan Pepe.


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