Tech Business Review: Groupon’s New Strategy, Apple’s Woes in China

Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) is trying a $30/year VIP service which grants members early access to deal reservations, access to previously-closed deals, and refunds on purchased deals. This is Groupon’s attempt to increase repeat purchases. At the same time, the CEO of rival LivingSocial, reports to IBD that his company is looking to join Groupon in diversifying its deal offerings. LivingSocial posted substantial losses in 2011.

Retailers in additional Chinese cities are being told to stop selling the iPad due to Apple’s(NASDAQ:AAPL) dispute with trademark holder Proview. This comes from media sources and conflicts with a Chinese customs official’s assurances to the contrary, and comes a day after Amazon China took the iPad off its virtual shelves.

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Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) $12.5B acquisition of Motorola (NYSE:MMI) is being studied by China’s Anti-Monopoly Bureau; the review is supposedly routine. Google has until March 20 to make a decision or begin a third phase. Beijing consultant Edward Yu commented that the review could be used to work out how Google could fully return to doing business in China.

The question of how to value Taobao, the online retails ops of Alibaba (ALBCF.PK), is being blamed for the breakdown in talks between Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), Alibaba and Softbank (SFTBF.PK) over the sale of Yahoo’s Asian assets, according to Reuters. The valuation issue is causing Yahoo to want to reassess the December signing of a term sheet in view of Taobao’s fast growth.

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AT&T (NYSE:T) is considering an acquisition to increase its spectrum holdings, following the failure of the T-Mobile deal and the regulatory quashing of LightSquared. This fits recent speculation, the WSJ says. Possible AT&T targets are discount carriers Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP), MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS), and ish Network (NASDAQ:DISH), but it’s likely that any deal will take months to form.

CBS (NYSE:CBS) commented that it’s “talking to Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) about a potential deal to produce a show for them.”, during its Q4 earnings call, which reported tepid growth in its Entertainment division. Meanwhile Netflix has already completed a deal with Twentieth Century Fox (NASDAQ:NWS) (NASDAQ:NWSA) for the creation of new episodes of Arrested Development. This would accompany its in-house production efforts.

Whitney Tilson tells CNBC he’s short LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) and Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN), while relishing his bullish call on Netflix. Because of this, LinkedIn shares have moved lower but are still showing a nice gain for the day. Tilson said he would not short Facebook (FB).

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To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Lawson at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com