Caught! Packer buys into daily deals site

Summary:After almost a month of speculation, James Packer, along with a prominent hedge fund, has moved to invest in daily deals sites Catch of the Day and Scoopon.

After almost a month of speculation, James Packer, along with a prominent hedge fund, has moved to invest in daily deals sites Catch of the Day and Scoopon.

Packer's Consolidated Press Holdings and New York-based Tiger Global Management teamed up with Andrew Bassat, co-founder of Seek, and Glenn Poswell of Gannet Capital in a consortium bid to pick up a massive stake in the daily deals sites.

The consortium is set to control 40 per cent of the deals business, owned by Gabby and Hezi Leibovich, with the investment pegged at $80 million.

Gabby Leibovich said in a statement that the deal was made to boost growth in the local business.

"It is still early days in Australia when it comes to online retail, and to support our next phase of growth we were open to overseas investors who could share a different perspective into the online retail market, as well as bring new skills, advice and contacts to further our growth and expansion," he said.

The deal will see new board members for Catch, with Tiger's Lee Fixel and Seek's Jason Lenga coming onboard. The Leibovich brothers are set to retain their controlling stake in the company.

James Packer said that he has faith that the Leibovich brothers will grow the business.

"Unlike many other players in the market, the team's proven experience in building profitable e-commerce businesses means they have the skills, supplier networks and economies of scale to keep growing and leading the market," Packer said.

"We are excited to align ourselves with the market leader in the online daily deals sector in Australia," the mogul added.

Catch of the Day has already gone about upgrading its IT infrastructure to deal with increasing site traffic.

The investment in Catch and Scoopon comes as the latest daily deals site investment in a line of deals; Yahoo!7 bought into Spreets for $40 million in January.

Packer's new baby is not without its flaws, however; Scoopon is still embroiled in a legal stoush with US-based coupon giant, Groupon.

The consortium said in a statement to ZDNet Australia that it was aware of the legal battle, but the issue hadn't deterred the group from investing.

Topics: Legal

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A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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