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Google takeover speculation raises Groupon shares

The Groupon logo can be inside the online

The Groupon logo can be inside the online coupon company's offices in Chicago. (Sept. 22, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

Groupon Inc. surged to the highest price in three weeks on speculation that Google Inc. might consider buying the online coupon provider.

The shares advanced 23 percent to $4.69 in New York, closing at the highest price since Oct. 19. The stock pared to 77 percent its loss since an initial public offering in November of 2011.

The stock plunge since the IPO may spark renewed takeover interest from Google now that Groupon's market value has slipped to $3.07 billion, said Tom Forte, an analyst at Telsey Advisory Group. Google had considered acquiring Groupon for $6 billion the year before its public market debut, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

"Where the stock is currently trading, it's a takeout candidate," Forte said. "If Google was interested at $6 billion, I think it's a possibility." Paul Taaffe, a spokesman for Groupon, declined to comment on takeover speculation, as did Katelin Todhunter-Gerberg, a spokeswoman for Google.

In the year since the IPO, growth has slowed and Groupon's as demand for daily deals has dwindled. Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mason has struggled to shore up the core business and push the company into new areas to generate added sources of revenue.

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