Wow: Heilemann brothers buy back Daily Deal from Google

22 Feb, 2013

This is unusual: the two brothers Fabian (photo) and Ferry Heilemann sold their daily deals company ‘Daily Deal’ to Google last year for $ 114 million, and today they announced on the website that they have bought it back from Google.

It’s weird, because I recently saw Heilemann at HyBerlin, and he was talking about how lucky he was to sell the company at just the right time to Google – right before the collapse of the coupon hype, and before the ill fated Groupon IPO.

However, it was already clear that the Heilemanns weren’t exactly in their element as corporate types. When Google laid off staff in september 2012 and began making plans to shutter Daily Deals entirely, the two stepped in to buy their company back.

Here’s the statement of the Heilemann brothers: 

“We are pleased to inform you today that we as founders and managing directors have bought the company DailyDeal back from Google and will now continue to lead it on our own. DailyDeal will of course continue to offer the same service and exciting offers – exactly as we have done in the past. In addition, we will expand the business in the coming months. In the name of the DailyDeal team we thank all of our users, business partners and colleagues for their loyalty and support over the last three years. We are very much looking forward to what lies ahead of us!”

A spokesman for the company told Silicon Allee:

“In the future, we will continue pursuing couponing as a business model and expanding our strong market position. With 31,000 deals and 4.6 million coupons sold summing up to a total value of 260 million euros, DailyDeal has evolved to a leading couponing portal in D-A-CH in the last three years. Within the last year we have grown by 25 percent compared to 2011.

“Building on the existing assets (such as employees, customer base, merchant pool), we will also develop other sustainable business models.The latter will be presented to you within the next few weeks.

“Despite the change in ownership, DailyDeal will continue to be solidly financed just as before.”

It’s gutsy of the brothers, and it shows that entrepreneurship is about more than taking the money and run, even though I’m sure they paid only a fraction of what Google paid them one and a half year ago. Let’s see whether they will be able to pull off a ‘Skype’ (which was bought back from Ebay by the initial founders in 2009 and re-sold for a massive profit to Microsoft in 2011).

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About the author

Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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