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Comcast-Sponsored Atairos Management Buys into Groupon

Atairos Management – a private investment firm backed by leading cable MSO (multi service operator) and media and entertainment firm Comcast Corp. CMCSA – has recently invested $250 million in online dealmaker Groupon, Inc. GRPN.

Notably, Atairos has acquired convertible debt worth $250 million from Groupon which comes to roughly 6% of the company.

Meanwhile, Groupon will be using the investment for common corporate purposes, including stock repurchase. Interestingly, the company’s board has boosted its existing share-repurchase program by $200 million and has extended it through Apr 2018.

A Strategic Move

Atairos was launched earlier this year by Comcast with roughly $4 billion in committed capital to focus on aiding growth-oriented businesses across various industries.

Meanwhile, as part of the investment in Groupon, Michael Angelakis, the former CFO of Comcast and Atairos CEO will be joining Groupon’s board. Moreover, under the new liaison, Comcast will be looking for means to team up with Groupon and enter into potential strategic partnerships.

Interestingly, Comcast looks to advantage from Groupon’s recognized leadership in linking customers with local businesses, by combining it with Comcast's immense subscriber and advertiser network.

Moreover, Comcast possesses an advertising division called Comcast Spotlight, which offers daily discounts for local businesses. Notably, Comcast’s local advertising business generated $2.3 billion in revenues in 2015, marking a 3% decline from 2014 levels. This latest partnership could thus possibly bolster Comcast’s local advertising business.

Bottom Line

Groupon is undergoing a transition to redefine itself as a local marketplace. Since Nov 2015, the company, under its new CEO Rich Williams, has been focusing on three key areas, namely, marketing, international and shopping. This vote of confidence from Atairos is thus certainly welcome news for this daily deal company.

For Comcast, the investment could help drive growth as the pay-TV industry undergoes massive change driven by extensive network of fiber-based video services from telecom operators and the strong presence of online video streaming providers such as Netflix, Inc. NFLX. Notably, Comcast recently started selling video and Internet service through Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN.

Comcast currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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