Coupons Inc. Expands Globally With Couponstar Deal

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Coupons Inc., a printable coupon marketing and technology solutions provider, expanded its worldwide presence by acquiring a 50 percent interest in Cashstar International, the Australian parent of Couponstar Ltd. (UK) and Couponstar Pty Ltd. (Australia).

Terms of the deal, announced last month, were not disclosed. Couponstar Ltd. and Couponstar Pty Ltd. provide printable coupon marketing solutions in Europe, Asia and Australia. Couponstar clients and partners include Kimberly-Clark, Unilever, Masterfoods, General Mills, Colgate Palmolive, Australian Geographic and Coty Ltd. Couponstar will continue to operate from its offices in Sydney and London.

Couponstar Ltd. and Couponstar Pty Ltd. have used the technology platform of Coupons Inc., Mountain View, CA, for coupon promotions, ticketing and cash transfer applications for the past four years. The companies will focus their first joint efforts on expanding Couponstar's incentive promotions business in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe.

"We have been watching these companies' growth from afar, and we've seen a rapid growth in the marketplace in the UK on the coupon side and in other countries on the gift card business side," said Steven Boal, CEO of Coupons Inc. "We felt the time was right to put our full faith and effort behind international expansion by buying 50 percent ownership so that we could remain grounded in our respective local marketing cultures but at the same time have a real solid vested interest [in the companies]."

The coupon market outside the United States is showing exponential growth and is moving faster to take advantage of new communications technologies like mobile phones, Mr. Boal said.

Coupons Inc.'s core couponing, customer acquisition and e-mail marketing services provide clients with creation, distribution, tracking and reporting of consumer-printed coupons that can be used for traditional in-store redemption.

Hundreds of consumer Web sites, consumer packaged goods manufacturers and pharmaceutical suppliers distribute offers via Coupons Inc.'s distribution network and Digital FSI platform. Clients and licensees include the majority of top consumer packaged goods and brands such as Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, Kimberly-Clark, Masterfoods, Pfizer, Wyeth, Valassis and News Corp.'s News America Marketing.

Coupons Inc. held meetings in Europe recently with its U.S.-based clients, Mr. Boal said, and "they are all supporting our initiatives in Europe. So, expect to launch some fairly dramatic and innovative services over the short term that have been in development for many months." Coupons Inc. is spending "considerable energy and effort in hiring in all of the new locations and building our presence in all of the locations," he said, and the company will open another office overseas as well.

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