John Pletz On Technology

Hot Pockets billionaire buys 5% of Groupon, seeks board seat

MIG, a family office and investment fund led by a Kellogg alum, went long on Ulta and came up a winner. Now it's betting on Groupon.?

Bloomberg

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79彩票注册网址A California billionaire whose family made its fortune in frozen food with Hot Pockets is snacking on Groupon.

MIG Master Fund, an investment fund based in the Cayman Islands, disclosed in a securities filing that it now owns 5 percent of the online-deals company’s stock. The fund is seeking a seat on Groupon’s board.

MIG is part of MIG Capital, which is run by Richard Merage, whose father, Paul, is which they sold to Nestle in 2002 for $2.6 billion. is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

The fund focuses on consumer, as well as technology investments. It was an early investor in Bolingbrook-based Ulta Beauty, which turned out to be the best-performing retail stock of the 2010s.

Richard Merage wants to be nominated to the board by the company. MIG did not respond to a request for comment. Said Groupon in a statement: “Groupon has been in dialogue with MIG Capital and is aware of its interest in having Richard Merage, Portfolio Manager and CEO of MIG, join the Groupon board of directors. The board is evaluating Mr. Merage as a director candidate as part of its regular assessment of the board’s needs and makeup.”

MIG is the second investor to take a run at Chicago-based Groupon this year, betting they can turn around its sagging stock. In August, California investor Robert Chapman bought about 1.5 percent of the online-deal company’s stock in hopes of sparking a share buyback or sale but soon exited his position, unable to gather interest in pushing for change.

MIG bought 28.3 million shares, or 5 percent of the stock, for $95.2 million. It bought about 2 million shares between Nov. 13 and Dec. 23, according to the filing.

79彩票注册网址It’s not clear exactly what MIG Capital wants with Groupon, whose stock company went public at $21 a share in 2011 but has been trading below $10 since early 2014. The shares dropped below $4 on Sept. 14, 2018 and now trade at $2.36.

Groupon co-founder and Chairman Eric Lefkofsky is the largest shareholder, with 13.3 percent of the stock.

PAR Capital Management, a Boston-based hedge fund that mounted a proxy fight at United Airlines three years ago, is the largest outside shareholder in Groupon with 10 percent of the stock.

Other big holders include Alibaba, which bought into Groupon at its low point three years ago, owns 5.8 percent; mutual fund companies Vanguard, which has 7.7 percent of the stock; and Blackrock, which has 5.7 percent of the shares. 

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