NEW YORK – Online coupon company Groupon said it elected Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks Coffee Co., to its board amid media reports that it is preparing for an initial public offering in the spring.
The Chicago company also said Maveron LLC, a Seattle-based venture capital firm co-founded by Schultz, had invested an undisclosed amount in Groupon alongside the appointment.
Private companies typically add outsiders to their boards before going public. Schultz has also served on the boards of online auction site eBay Inc. and drugstore.com, according to Maveron’s website. He currently serves on the board of yogurt chain Pinkberry.
Schultz helped build Starbucks, left for a while and returned to lead the coffee chain as it struggled during the downturn.
Schultz’s investment follows a $950 million investment from private investors in January.
Groupon e-mails people coupons targeted to their location for restaurants, services such as yoga classes and other activities. A specific number of people must buy the coupon in order to activate it.