Groupon confirmed today it will be selling a stake in Ticket Monster, the Korean-based e-commerce company it bought more than a year ago, for a huge profit.
The Chicago-based deals company said global investment firm KKR and Hong Kong-based Anchor Equity Partners will pay $360 million for roughly half of Ticket Monster, valuing the business at $782 million. At closing, Groupon will retain a 41 percent stake in the company.
The deal looks pretty good for Groupon, which says it will record a gain of $195 million to $205 million once the transaction closes. Groupon, which acquired Ticket Monster from its close rival LivingSocial, will receive $285 million in cash from the deal, with the remainder going to Ticket Monster. If you don’t remember, Groupon paid LivingSocial only $260 million for the company 17 months ago, which means the company’s value has tripled in less than two years.
Of course, when LivingSocial sold the company it was losing money and looking for ways to raise cash. Presumably, selling off Ticket Monster was an ideal way to do that quickly. At the time, the Korean company had annual billings of more than $800 million, and employed 1,000 people, who served more than four million active customers.
The divestiture of Ticket Monster calls into question Groupon’s long-term international strategy. A story today in TechCrunch hints it may be focusing on the parts of its business that can run on one common platform, which today largely means its U.S. and European divisions.
“With additional support from KKR and Anchor, TMON will be even better resourced and positioned in the Korean market,” Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky said in a press release.
In the wake of the deal, Groupon updated its earnings guidance. It now expects first quarter 2015 revenue between $720 and $770 million, adjusted EBITDA between $58 and $78 million and non-GAAP earnings per share (from continuing operations) between 1 cent and 3 cents a share. For the full year, Groupon continues to expect adjusted EBITDA of greater than $315 million.
The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015, subject to normal regulatory and customary closing conditions.