BuyWithMe Acquires LocalTwist, Goes Head-to-Head Vs. Tippr While Lawsuits Simmer
This is not just another consolidation of local-deal sites. This is a life-and-death struggle for third place behind Groupon and LivingSocial (for now anyway). This is BuyWithMe vs. Tippr, Round Two.
New York- and Boston-based BuyWithMe said today it has acquired LocalTwist, a daily-deals site that is active in Seattle and San Diego, and soon to be up and running in more cities. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. LocalTwist is a relatively new division of Silicon Valley-based LifeStreet, a marketing and digital advertising firm.
The news is interesting not just because it marks BuyWithMe’s entry into a new city and competitive market (Seattle), but because Tippr, based in Seattle, is currently embroiled in a pair of lawsuits against BuyWithMe—one over alleged patent infringement, and the other involving a claim, by Tippr, that one of its former employees gave inside information to BuyWithMe.
As my colleague Curt reported last month, Tippr was granted an injunction against BuyWithMe in a strange case that alleges that BuyWithMe’s founder, Andrew Moss, “misappropriated” company financial information from a Tippr salesman while the latter had been job-hunting. The litigation in that case, as well as the patent suit, is ongoing so neither side is going to comment on its significance to today’s news.
But I’ll comment. All of that was Round One. In Round Two, we’re now seeing BuyWithMe make a competitive foray into Tippr’s home turf. Tippr runs its own consumer-focused deals sites, but founder Martin Tobias has said its main business approach is to provide the underlying technology platform for local deals online. In that way, Tippr and BuyWithMe are actually somewhat complementary.
Except that Tippr has probably been guarding against the type of move we’re seeing today. I haven’t delved into the details of the lawsuits yet, but I’m wondering what Tippr’s next move will be in the competition we’re seeing between these two companies in Boston, Seattle, and beyond.
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