Shultz Backs Groupon, Gets Board Seat — Updated

Howard Schultz. Photo by Bobby Yip, Reuters.
Howard Schultz. Photo by Bobby Yip, Reuters.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Groupon said on Thursday Starbucks Corp. Chief Executive Howard Schultz has joined its board of directors and that his venture capital firm has taken a stake in the daily deals website.

Schultz’ firm, Maveron, previously invested in retailers such as zulily, which offers daily deals on clothing geared to mothers and their children, and the lucy activewear chain, which was sold to VF Corp. in 2007.

(Update: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Groupon CEO Andrew Mason said Maveron bought an undisclosed number of  shares from existing investors and employees, which means Groupon didn’t see an influx of new cash.)

Groupon, a fast growing members-only site, reportedly got a $6 billion takeover bid from Google Inc. in November, which it turned down. Two-year-old Groupon recently completed a $950 million round of financing.

The company offers its members discounts of 50 percent to 70 percent on local services, provided enough members sign up for any single offer. It takes a commission of 30 percent to 50 percent from the merchants who provide the services. — Reporting by Phil Wahba; editing by Andre Grenon, Reuters