Talks between Google and online discount site Groupon over a potential acquisition have ended, according to reports.
Google was reported to be in talks to buy the online marketing service for local merchants for $6bn (£3.9bn), making it the largest acquisition so far for the search giant. Groupon's board of directors met with Google last week.
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But the Wall Street Journal has reported negotiations between the two companies have fallen through. Groupon continued to consider remaining independent and pursuing an IPO in the future, added the paper.
Despite the widespread view that Google was in danger of overpaying for Groupon, many Wall Street analysts last week focussed instead on the strategic significance of an acquisition that could give Google a jump-start in the fast-growing online local advertising market, according to the Financial Times.
But other analysts disputed the strategic value of a deal, saying there was nothing that Groupon had that Google could not build itself or work in partnership with several other companies to get for a far lower price than Groupon's.
The deal would make Google the market leader in locally tailored discounts as well as being its biggest foray into local business advertising, the New York Times said, citing the company's previous attempts to buy local review site Yelp.
The European Commission (EC) recently launched a formal investigation into Google's business practices after several complaints from rival search engines accused Google of abusing its position as the world's leading search service provider.