Three months after selling its Korean deals business TicketMonster to Groupon, LivingSocial has divested the remainder of its assets in Southeast Asia. The company announced Tuesday evening that it has sold the its assets in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines to iBuy Group, a publicly-traded ecommerce company based in Singapore, for $18..5 million dollars in cash.
The sale, and the subsequent withdrawal from Southeast Asia, is the latest in a series of moves by LivingSocial to refocus its business and consolidate capital after a disastrous 2012, in which the firm suffered more than half a billion dollars in losses. Last year, the company reduced the amount it spent on marketing and killed its once-heralded events business. In January, the company also announced that its founder and CEO planned to depart.
In an interview with Street Fight Tuesday afternoon, John Bax, CFO at LivingSocial, said the the company’s businesses in Southeast Asia have largely functioned independently from the company’s core North American and European segments, continuing to operate on separate platform and evolving into a more traditional ecommerce model in the years since. The company entered Asia with gusto during the summer of 2011, snapping up Ensogo, a deals business with a footprint in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, and then two months later, acquiring the Korean-based Ticketmonster, which also operated in Malaysia. The company had held onto Ticketmonster’s non-Korean assets (e.g. the Malaysian business) as part of the agreement with Groupon.
LivingSocial declined to comment on whether it lost money on the acquisitions.
“This is all part of our greater plan to focus on our core offers business, and to give us an even larger war chest to support our product and marketing efforts in the places where we can win,” said Bax. “More and more, we’re going to be focused less on selling the type of consumables which the Southeast Asian division had evolved to, and more, on our core business, which is delivering consumers to merchants.”
The move marks a strategic split from the company’s largest competitor Groupon, which has invested heavily in building a more traditional ecommerce operation. For Groupon, the effort has resulted in a large new revenue stream, but one that has weighed on the traditionally strong margins driven by the company’s core local deals efforts.
Steven Jacobs is Street Fight’s deputy editor.
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