One Less Groupon Clone: J.P. Morgan Chase Acquires Bloomspot

Bloomspot, one of the smaller players in the coupon and loyalty market, is being acquired by Chase Bank, a subsidiary of J.P. Morgan Chase.

bloomspot_offices-275x206The acquisition was reported by several media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, which cited sources close to the transaction as saying that Chase paid $35 million for the San Francisco company.

Bloomspot’s roughly 100 employees are expected to be offered jobs at the lender and payment processor.

Together, the two should be a good fit.

In general, banks and card issuers are looking for new revenue streams after the Durbin Amendment capped the amount that they could charge merchants on debit card transactions. Additionally, many banks have already begun sending targeted ads or deals to consumers based on their spending habits.

In a recent story, I named financial companies, including Visa, MasterCard and American Express, as potential acquirers for Groupon. However, one impediment with Groupon is its price. Even though its stock is down around 80 percent since its IPO, it would still cost billions to acquire.

The purchase today by Chase shows that there is an interest, just at a lower price point.

In a release, Jeff Kinder, president of Chase Offers, said, “Merchant partners are continually looking for ways to engage the right customers, and consumers have shown a clear interest in receiving offers from their favorite merchants. We believe Chase has a unique set of assets to bring these customers together and deliver highly targeted, relevant merchant offers at scale.”

Over the past few years, Bloomspot, which was led by former Yahoo executive Jasper Malcolmson, has tried hard to disassociate itself from both Groupon and LivingSocial. Even though on the surface it seems as though Bloomspot distributed similar offers, Malcolmson said he was focused on bringing merchants profitable customers rather than just getting new people in the door.

The company’s motto was, “Great Offers. Great Customers.”

But this deal may not have been so great for investors.

Last summer, Bloomspot raised $35 million in a second round of funding just before Groupon’s public offering. Prior to that, it raised nearly $11 million, for a total of about $46 million. Investors include InterWest Partners, Columbia Capital, Menlo Ventures and True Ventures, among others.


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