So why did the No. 1 group-buying site reportedly say "no" to Google?
The answer, it seems, is antitrust concerns. Groupon's top brass thought Google's offer could have drawn more scrutiny from regulators than any other deal the Internet behemoth has ever done, a source told Business Insider.
Done In Over a Break-Up Fee
And Google is no stranger to antitrust investigations. It's currently under scrutiny in both Europe and the U.S., and it previously had to battle regulators in order purchase DoubleClick and AdMob. When the company made a move for Yahoo's (YHOO) search business, regulators spiked the deal.
With that, the deal was dead.
Groupon is confident that it can keep growing. The site now has 40 million e-mail subscribers, compared with just 400,000 two years ago. "Groupon is a spectacular company," the source said, describing the board's view. "We thought of something and we did it and now 2,000 people have copied us, yet we still have 70% of the market and we're executing at a pace that no one's ever seen. We're doing something special."
As Google has discovered, that kind of special doesn't come cheap.