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Groupon buys South Africa’s Twangoo

The big new name in collective buying, Groupon, which recently turned down a multi-billion dollar offer from Google, has bought the main South African player in this space, Twangoo, and struck similar deals in Israel and India as it goes global.

Groupon, the collective buying site which last year turned down an offer of more than $3-billion from Google, has announced the acquisition of South African group buying site Twangoo, and the simultaneous launch of Groupon South Africa. At the same time, it also announced the launch of Groupon India and Groupon Israel via acquisition of daily deal sites SoSasta and Grouper respectively. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Using the principles of collective buying, Groupon negotiates discounts with popular businesses and shares them with subscribers via free daily emails. The deals are activated only when a minimum number of people agree to buy, encouraging subscribers to share the promotion with family and friends.

By guaranteeing a large number of new customers, Groupon has created a powerful new marketing vehicle for local merchants in thousands of cities worldwide. This innovative approach to e-commerce has brought millions of dollars in new revenue to local businesses while saving more than $1.5 billion for consumers around the world.

The acquisitions continue Groupon¬πs rapid global growth and extend its reach across India, the Middle East and South Africa. In just three months since launch, SoSasta has grown to run daily deals in 11 Indian cities.

Serving Tel Aviv and surrounding cities since March 2010, Grouper is widely recognized as the first and largest deal site in Israel.

Twangoo has rapidly grown to serve the most cities of any deal site in South Africa. It has a few rivals, but none that have made significant noise or appeared on the radar of consumers in general. They include WiCount , EishCoupon and Justhenga, all of which appear to follow the same cut-and-paste strategy. The deal is sure to attract more players, with the traditional “sell-to-Google”” strategy clearly about to morph into a “”sell-to-Groupon”” strategy.

All three of the newly acquired sites will take on the Groupon brand name and site design in coming months. The Indian and South African sites will continue to operate in English, and the Israeli site in Hebrew.

“”Collective buying is in its infancy in India, Israel and South Africa and we see strong potential,”” said Rob Solomon, president and chief operating officer of Groupon. “”Groupon is shaping the way local merchants market themselves in every corner of the world.””

Groupon India, Groupon Israel, and Groupon South Africa will join Groupon’s global network, which offers its deals to more than 50 million subscribers in 40 countries. Groupon employs more than 4,000 people worldwide.

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