Groupon Continues to Suck Silicon Valley Talent to Chicago–This Time From Google

Groupon is close to hiring yet another top executive from the Bay Area, according to sources.

This time, the social buying site is targeting Jason Harinstein, who is Google’s director of corporate development. He would be the latest in a string of high-profile hires for the Chicago-based company.

Harinstein is expected to fill a similar role at the well-financed daily-deals site, including mergers and acquistions and other corporate deal-making. UPDATE: Groupon has officially announced it has hired Harinstein, who will serve as SVP of Corporate Development.

According to LinkedIn, he led several major transactions at Google, including the acquisitions of DoubleClick and ITA Software.

Groupon, which has been around only since 2008, has built a giant business in a short time by linking customers with mostly local merchants via heavily discounted daily deals.

It’s been trying to replicate that business around the globe, often times acquiring local providers to get up to speed quickly. Its latest moves have been in China, where it’s considering a combination of buying, building or a strategic investment.

The company continues to solidify its management team ahead of a potential public offering. Not too long ago, Groupon said it was undecided about its next step, but now we hear it is leaning toward Morgan Stanley as its banker.

Harinstein, who has worked at Google for nearly six years, would closely follow other execs willing to make the move to the Midwest company. He is currently located in New York.

Late last month, Mobilized’s Ina Fried reported that Yahoo Mobile VP Michael Shim was headed to Groupon; Yahoo also lost Lee Brown to Groupon to head national sales, according to a post by BoomTown’s Kara Swisher; and from a little farther north, Groupon scooped up Amazon vet Jason Child as CFO.

If this hire materializes, it would be yet another a blow to Google’s ego, which failed to acquire Groupon for $6 billion late last year. It’s not clear if Harinstein worked on the deal or not, which would have given Groupon execs some insight to his talent. Google has not yet responded.

Keeping with Groupon’s humorous style, as part of Harinstein’s announcement, it also said it has hired Rob Grabowski, who will be in charge of supplies, such as “stocking Diet Coke, Vitamin Water and tiny flannel shirts in kitchens across four floors of Groupon headquarters.” He most recently worked as an office assistant at a comedy club in Chicago.


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