Local coupon site and one-time Facebook scourge LivingSocial has received a $175 million investment from Amazon.com and an additional $8 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners.
The Washington, DC-based company offers its 10 million subscribers daily discounts on their favorite local restaurants, hotels, spas and sporting events. It is also the company behind the "5 Faves" apps that became ubiquitous on Facebook in 2009. The apps allowed LivingSocial to collect users' preferences on pastimes like movies, music and beverages in order to better target its marketing offers.
The minority investment by Amazon places LivingSocial's total value at about $1 billion. The company claims average revenues of more than $1 million a day and projects over $500 million in revenue for 2011.
LivingSocial said it will use the investment to expand into new cities worldwide and to fuel "overall business growth." It recently acquired Urban Escapes, an adventure-travel company for urban professionals.
LivingSocial CEO Tim O'Shaughnessy did not reply to an e-mail seeking comment.
Amazon's investment in LivingSocial comes as speculation heats up that Google could buy local coupon site Groupon for as much as $6 billion.
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
March 19, 2014