Groupon has sued two former employees who last month joined one of its direct competitors, according to papers filed in an Illinois court on Monday. Groupon claims the pair took with them confidential information belonging to the company.
Bloomberg reports that Michael Nolan, who was at Groupon for two years, and Brian Hanna, who started working there at the beginning of this year, left the daily deals company in September for positions with Google Offers. The pair worked as sales managers for Groupon.
The daily deals company also claims that they have breached an agreement whereby they wouldn’t work for a direct competitor for the next two years.
The filing says that “in their new positions with Google Offers and/or Google, Hanna and Nolan will provide the same or similar services as they provided at Groupon,” which means they’ll have to “employ confidential and proprietary information that they learned while employed at Groupon.”
Groupon is attempting to get a court order to prevent Hanna and Nolan from disclosing any confidential information which belongs to the company.
The news comes on the same day that Groupon’s IPO roadshow kicks off in an effort to generate investor interest in its stock. The Chicago-based company hopes to sell 30 million shares for between $16 and $18 in an effort to raise as much as $540 million. This would value Groupon at $11.4 billion. Late last year, Google offered to buy Groupon for $6 billion but the bid was rejected. Less than six months later, Google launched its own daily deals service, Google Offers.
The daily deals business has boomed since Groupon launched in 2008, and has already reached saturation point. Many competing companies have fallen by the wayside in recent months, while Google Offers continues to expand. It currently offers daily deals in more than 12 US cities, with launches for 25 more cities planned for the near future.
While Google Offers may not be as big as Groupon just yet, the original daily deals company is nevertheless keen to keep ahead of the game and ensure that none of its former employees share any information relating to its business practises, although it may, of course, be too late.