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Top Local Business Stories of the Week


RETAILMENOT DEAL

Austin’s RetailMeNot being sold in $630 million deal: Austin-based online coupon company RetailMeNot, one of Austin’s most high-profile publicly held software companies, agreed last week to be acquired in a deal the company said is valued at $630 million.

San Antonio-based Harland Clarke Holdings Corp. is buying all the outstanding shares of RetailMeNot common stock at $11.60 per share.

Based the number of RetailMeNot shares outstanding, the deal is valued at about $560 million. However, the companies listed the deal’s equity value, which includes debt, the value of stock options and convertible securities, at $630 million.

Founded in 2009, RetailMeNot operates the largest online marketplace for coupons and consumer deals. Its sites and mobile apps provide coupon codes, free trials and other retail offers from more than 70,000 merchants including Macy’s, Nordstrom, Wal-Mart and Target.

Harland Clarke provides integrated payment solutions and marketing services.

The proposed $11.60 a share purchase price represents a premium of about 50 percent over the closing share of RetailMeNot’s common stock on April 7, and a premium of about 36 percent over the average closing share price for the 60 calendar days ended April 7.

The acquisition, approved by both companies’ boards, will have to pass regulatory approval. It is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017.

Executives said the combined companies will create a multi-channel network of thousands of advertisers reaching hundreds of millions of consumers around the world.

“This is an exciting and important milestone for RetailMeNot,” said Cotter Cunningham, RetailMeNot founder and CEO. “Not only are we delivering an immediate and significant cash premium to our stockholders, but we are also meaningfully advancing our goal of becoming a leading savings destination for consumers. This acquisition is a testament to the unwavering commitment and hard work of our 500-plus dedicated employees.”

The agreement means that Austin will lose another well-known publicly traded tech company. Although strong public companies help put the region on the map as a place to build successful companies, it’s also likely that being acquired will allow RetailMeNot to expand at a faster pace.

A WHOLE SALE?

Report: Amazon considered bid to buy Whole Foods: Online retail giant Amazon.com last year considered making a takeover bid for Austin-based Whole Foods Market Inc., but decided not to pursue a deal, Bloomberg news service reported, citing unnamed sources.

Citing a person with knowledge of the situation, Bloomberg reports that Amazon considered whether Whole Foods would help invigorate its push into groceries, but that the discussions never turned into a concrete plan.

Founded in Austin in 1978, Whole Foods is one of Austin’s best-known companies, with 462 stores worldwide and 87,000 employees.

Amazon is already in the grocery business, to a limited extent, with features such as its AmazonFresh service in certain markets. It’s also been experimenting with a convenience store of the future in Seattle, its home base, where there are no cashiers – instead, special technology tallies everything up as you shop.

Acquiring Whole Foods would have given Amazon a new foothold into the lucrative, but highly competitive, grocery game, providing it with brick-and-mortar stores and distribution centers, plus improved access to key vendors.

It would have come at a steep cost, though. Whole Foods is valued at almost $11 billion – 10 times Amazon’s biggest purchase to date, online shoe retailer Zappos. Zappos sold for $1.2 billion in 2009.

The Bloomberg report comes on the heels of Jana Partners LLC, now one of the biggest investors in Whole Foods Market, saying publicly that it wants the company to consider a variety of potential changes — including a possible sale.

Aside from Amazon, Jana’s list of potential suitors includes mainstream grocers Kroger and Albertsons, according to published reports.

Spokespeople for Amazon, Kroger and Albertsons declined comment on a possible acquisition.



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