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Groupon Mulls Selling Off Checkout Software Business

Groupon acquired the iPad-based software business, Breadcrumb, in 2012.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Groupon is contemplating divesting some or all of its Breadcrumb business unit, which makes checkout software for restaurants and bars that runs on iPads, according to multiple sources. Groupon executives have discussed the possibility internally and even floated it to a competitor during a recent meeting, these people said.

Groupon acquired Breadcrumb in 2012 to help Groupon merchants manage their businesses more efficiently and make it easier for them to redeem Groupon vouchers. The Breadcrumb software comes with a payments processing option integrated. Breadcrumb founder Seth Harris is still with Groupon and recently told industry execs that he would like to raise money from venture capitalists to spin Breadcrumb out of Groupon into a standalone business, according to sources. It’s not clear whether he has actually pitched any investors on such an idea or whether Groupon would be on board with such an arrangement.

Separately, a Groupon exec casually mentioned the idea of selling off some or all of the business to competitor Square recently, according to sources, but that specific idea didn’t get off the ground and the two sides haven’t held any formal talks on a deal.

A Square spokesman declined to comment and Groupon’s Harris didn’t respond to requests for comment.

A Groupon spokesman declined to comment on the specifics, but said, “As we’ve previously discussed, we’re always looking at our great assets to determine how to best position them for growth and unlock value for our shareholders.”

Groupon also offers less-sophisticated iPad checkout software for brick-and-mortar businesses that don’t need all the bells and whistles, mostly aimed at restaurants and bars, that come with Breadcrumb. It’s not clear what would happen to that business if Groupon sold off Breadcrumb.

In addition to Breadcrumb, Groupon has said it is considering selling off some or all of its Korean business, Ticket Monster, as competition increases in that region. Groupon bought Ticket Monster from competitor LivingSocial for $260 million in early 2014. Groupon has been increasingly focused on transforming its website into a shopping destination with a giant catalogue of deals on local services and products that customers visit regularly rather than relying on one-off email promotions to bring in customers.

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