Groupon’s Andrew Mason demonstrates how to stonewall

June 2, 2011

By Sarah McBride in Palos Verdes

Once he got entrepreneurial, Groupon founder and CEO Andrew Mason had to change his stance on copycatting. What he once considered plagiarism – after a few years in the wild and woolly world of business — he now considers fair game. Sorta.

“They call it competition,” he told conference-goers at All Things Digital in Rancho Palos Verdes.

These days, “I’m used to it. I’m on board,” he said without enthusiasm, while the audience laughed. (Groupon’s online-deal competitors include Living Social.)

The music student-turned-Web entrepreneur also shot interviewer Kara Swisher a series of increasingly stoney looks as she probed insistently about a possible IPO for Groupon, before finally warning her off with the deadpan comment “awkward”.

Mason can afford to be cavalier about many things these days. A Web and consumer phenom, Groupon has the wherewithal to continue growing at a breakneck pace while fending off suitors — it reportedly told Google and its $6 billion takeover offer to shove off. The company is now rocketing toward what would be, when it finally comes to pass, one of the Internet world’s most-anticipated IPOs.

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