Google said to be eyeing up Groupon, for $3B+

Google is said to be looking to acquire up and coming group purchasing site Groupon, according to AllThingsD.

Google predictably wouldn’t comment on rumored negotiations, and Groupon hasn’t tipped their hand in the matter either:

In an email, a Google spokesperson said with some style: “Per usual, we don’t comment on rumor or speculation. If we did we’d be busy 24/7!”

A Groupon spokesperson was also sassy, noting: “Thanks for the heads-up!”

As AllThingsD points out, the valuation of Groupon, which is catching on rapidly among smartphone users and general web bargain shoppers, might seem high at first but prove to be prescient. However, it could also open up problems for the search engine giant as regards to its increasing dominance over many aspects of the web:

Google narrowly missed getting approval for its $750 million purchase of mobile advertising start-up AdMob.

And it is currently under fire from numerous critics for its proposed purchase of huge flight data firm ITA Software for $700 million.

Those opposed to the acquisition, on antitrust grounds, contend that Google would control travel search in a way that would invite abuse.

Groupon, which operates in about 300 cities in nearly 30 countries (a number which has doubled since May), gets a 50% cut of all deals sold through their site- a business model that has also drawn ire from some merchants with buyer’s remorse. If the three billion or more dollars figure stands, the acquisition will be the most expensive of all of Google’s large acquisitions. (In comparision, YouTube sold for a paltry $1.65B.)