Groupon founder talks TMON deal

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Groupon founder talks TMON deal

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Groupon founder and CEO Eric Lefkofsky explains his plans to expand in Asia. [NEWSIS]

Eric Lefkofsky, the founder and CEO of the world’s largest social-commerce company, said at a press conference yesterday that Groupon purchased the Korean e-commerce site Ticket Monster both to turn Ticket Monster into the Korean leader and to strengthen Groupon’s position in the Asian market.

Groupon agreed to buy Ticket Monster last Friday for $260 million in cash and stock.

“Our objective with this acquisition is to help TMON in any way we can to become the largest e-commerce company in Korea,” said Lefkofsky yesterday during the press conference at COEX in Samseong-dong, southeastern Seoul. “Korea is the fourth-largest e-commerce market in the world. With this acquisition, we expect TMON to be the cornerstone of our Asian operations.”

Lefkofsky co-founded Groupon in 2008 as a deal-of-the-day website in Chicago, then helped to turn it into a global leader in e-commerce. He was inaugurated as the chief executive officer in August this year after successfully leading its mobile business. But as the original deal concept has slowed, Groupon has been changing into a global mobile commerce marketplace.

“Despite our success and progress throughout the world in all the countries we operate in, we have had very small and limited success in Korea,” said Lefkofsky. “There are two main reasons for this. The first is that we were late to enter this market, and the second is that companies like TMON are so well run and have done such a fantastic job that we have been unable to catch up.

“So, as they say in America at times, if you can’t beat them, join them.”

Although Asia accounts for 12 of Groupon’s 48 markets around the world, the region represents just 10 percent of the company’s sales.


BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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