Image: Groupon's headquarters in Chicago, Illinois /Scott Olson

INTERNATIONAL - Groupon, the company that made local online daily specials, is looking to be bought out, according to report in Recode.

According to the publication, executives and representatives of the Chicago-based company have recently stepped up efforts to bring in possible buyers.

In 2016, Alibaba bought 33 million shares nearly 6% of the company in 2016, has been reported as a potential suitor, as well as IAC, whose CEO Joey Levin, is a Groupon board member.

In May, Groupon reported better than expected first-quarter earnings on lower year-over-year revenue. 

Amid a digital push and a drive to bring more brands and small businesses onto the platform, the company's stock has languished under $5 per share which is far below its post-IPO high.

 Groupon's market capitalization was once valued at $16 billion (R213 422 560 000.00), but is now around $2.5 billion (R33 34 72 750 00.00)

In 2016, Groupon South Africa's website officially shut down in the country. 

In a statement on its website, the company announced that it will "wound down operations". 

“We are sorry to inform you that as of 4 November 2016, Groupon has wound down its operations in South Africa and we are unable to offer you any deals today.

“For our customers, this means we will stop offering deals on our website from tonight. All current vouchers bought will remain valid until the date stated on the voucher. The terms and conditions on the voucher remain the same. For any customers who are uncomfortable with using their voucher, we are offering a cash refund option if they contact us before 30 November 2016,” read the statement.

According to Bloomberg, since news broke out about the company looking for a buyer, Groupon’s shares rose as much as 12% before the start of regular trading in the U.S. The stock closed Friday at $4.36 in New York.

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE