LivingSocial is half the size it used to be


In this file photo from July 2011, employees at LivingSocial work in one of its Washington offices. The firm has seen its local headcount fall to 520 from a height of more than 1,000. (Astrid Riecken/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

Clarification: An earlier version of this story misstated the employee count required for LivingSocial to qualify for a tax credit.

LivingSocial is half the size it was during its heyday.

The District-based deals company counts roughly 2,000 employees around the globe, Chief Marketing Officer Barry Judge said in an interview last week. That figure includes 520 employees in D.C.

That’s about half of LivingSocial’s stated size during its days of rapid global expansion. Then, the firm’s global headcount surpassed 4,000 and its local presence topped 1,000.

The reduction in staff should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the company in recent years. LivingSocial endured a series of layoffs, both large and small, as it struggled to overcome a slump in its flagship daily deals business.

What’s more, the company has closed or divested a number of overseas outposts, including its large Ticket Monster operation in South Korea, in an effort to stave off losses or raise cash.

The recent sale of its business units in Southeast Asia for $18.5 million included 500 employees alone.

The company’s existing payroll puts it well below the employee count needed to qualify for a $32.5 million tax break approved by the D.C. Council in July 2012. At the time, LivingSocial expected to employ nearly 2,000 people in the District by 2015.

But spokeswoman Sara Parker said the firm’s done shedding jobs and now plans to bulk up its engineering staff nationwide and its sales staff at its office in Torrance, Calif. The company is planning a large hiring event there May 27, she said.

The firm is especially looking to fill one key post: chief executive. A successor to founder Tim O’Shaughnessy, who announced plans to step down in January, has yet to be named.

(Amazon.com owns roughly one-third of LivingSocial. Amazon’s chief executive, Jeffrey P. Bezos, owns The Washington Post and affiliated publications.)

Follow reporter Steven Overly on Twitter: @StevenOverly

Steven Overly covers the business of technology, biotechnology and venture capital in the Washington region for The Washington Post and its weekly Capital Business publication. In that capacity, he has written about start-up struggles, investment trends and major drug discoveries.
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