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Trade Me sells Treat Me

Published: 5:54PM Tuesday March 05, 2013 Source: Fairfax

Trade Me is selling its daily deals site Treat Me in a management buy-out led by Treat Me boss James MacAvoy, who was also one of the founders of DVD rental service Fatso.

Trade Me chief executive Jon Macdonald expected the buy-out would be concluded within about a month.

The sale price was confidential "but not considered material".

The site is not understood to be a significant contributor to Trade Me's profits but has been a relatively labour-intensive part of the business, employing 27 of Trade Me's total 320 staff.

Macdonald said group-buying in New Zealand was "still a young industry", and changing rapidly.

"We've not been able to give Treat Me sufficient oxygen, mainly because of the bigger opportunities ahead of us in the core areas of our business."

Treat Me launched in March 2011 when the daily deals phenomenon was already in full swing, and has sold 1.1 million vouchers for goods and services offered by its merchant partners.

The sub-sector of the online retail market has been consolidating both in New Zealand and worldwide since competitors mushroomed in 2009.

Andrew Mason, the chief executive of one of the largest daily deals sites, America's Groupon, was fired last week in the wake of a disappointing quarterly result.

The Warehouse yesterday acquired daily deals site 1-day as part of its $33 million purchase of Hamilton-based e-tailer Torpedo7, whose primary business is retailing sports, clothing and recreational gear.

Trade Me shares closed up 1 cent at $4.90.