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Groupon Acquires Groupon Clone CityDeal, Expands to Europe Extremely Easily

GrouponGroupon's great, but confined as it is to the U.S. and Canada, a void was left in other parts of the world for clones. CityDeal, which operates in most of Europe, is one of those clones. CityDeal is active in 18 countries, from the U.K. to Turkey and Italy to Finland, and typically uses a different domain name for each nation, which is different than Groupon's sign-in local system on its single site.

The deal will merge all CityDeal properties under the Groupon banner—good call based on the puntastic name of Groupon, though I'm not sure how well it'll translate to Norwegian—and users will still apparently have to create a CityDeal login name to use the new Groupon Europe. That bit is odd; it does minimize the trickiness of the merger on one hand, but it doesn't create much unity between the North American and European ends of the company.

According to the less-cleverly-named Groublogpon, the transition will take "months." This is most interesting for the precedent it sets. Though it's by no means the first time this sort of thing has happened, it's kind of striking that a company would simply purchase and use a foreign photocopy of themselves. (eBay acquired an eBay clone coincidentally started by the same folks who started CityDeal—those folks know how to turn a buck.) It's not clear if Groupon plans to make many, if any, changes to CityDeal, but at least the company has its foot in the European door now. Of course, now that they're seeing competition (at least in New York City) from Gilt Groupe, they might want to watch their backs instead of...looking straight ahead? The analogy falls apart, but it's a good point, trust me.

Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in San Francisco (no link for that one—you'll have to do the legwork yourself).