Groupon to Sell 46% Stake in Ticket Monster for $360M

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Groupon Inc said it would sell a 46 percent stake in Ticket Monster, its South Korean e-commerce business, for $360 million amid efforts to turn itself around.

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Shares of Groupon, which raised its current-quarter adjusted profit forecast and approved a new $300 million share repurchase program, rose 4.7 percent in early trading.

The daily deals and online retail company, which will sell the Ticket Monster stake to a partnership formed by KKR and Anchor Equity Partners, will retain 41 percent in the unit after the deal closes.

The company, which once dominated the fast-growing online coupons arena, has been struggling to rev up sales and profit as it battles stiff competition from smaller companies as well as online giants such as Amazon.com Inc and Google Inc .

Groupon, which bought Ticket Monster from rival LivingSocial Inc about a year ago for $260 million, said the deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

Groupon will receive $285 million in cash, with the rest paid to Ticket Monster, Groupon said.

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The sale is expected to result in a gain of between $195 million and $205 million on a pre-tax basis for Groupon.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that a consortium of investors including KKR was close to signing a deal for a stake in Ticket Monster. (http://on.wsj.com/1aNlucO)

Groupon said in February it hired advisers to explore a range of financing and strategic alternatives for Ticket Monster, which has about 1,000 employees.

It had also said that several parties had expressed interest in Ticket Monster.

Groupon said on Monday it now expects first-quarter revenue at between $720 million and $770 million and earnings from continuing operations, excluding items, at between 1 cent and 3 cents per share.

It had previously expected revenue of $790 million-$840 million and adjusted earnings of between 0-2 cents per share.

Groupon's shares were up 2.5 percent at $7.38 on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Maju Samuel)