The Washington Post

Living Social closing Adventures line, says it will focus on large-scale touring events

Living Social is closing its three-year-old local Adventures business brand and shedding 30 employees in favor of lucrative, large-scale events as the daily-deals company searches for ways to make money.

“This was a business decision as we continue to focus on achieving profitability,” said Living Social Senior Vice President Doug Miller.

Miller said smaller live-produced events such as sushi rolling and paddleboarding cost too much, consume too many resources and do not have enough scale to make them worthwhile.

“We have found great success in some of our bigger events — BeerFest, Sumo & Sushi, 5k Dance Party — that are designed to tour from city to city,” Miller said in an e-mail. “Therefore, we have made the decision to shift our focus from smaller locally-conceived events entirely to larger touring events.”

The company will team with partners, such as Tough Mudder and Cirque du Soleil, that allow them to promote live events across the United States.

“The difference is that we will not produce events ourselves on a local level but focus more resource on the events produced by our third-party partners,” Miller said.

News of the change was first reported in the Washington Business Journal.

Some of the 30 jobs will be lost in the District, where Living Social is headquartered. The rest will come from other offices. Living Social laid off 400 employees last year as it dealt with a decline in the daily-deals business.

The company employs about 4,000 people worldwide, including 2,000 in the United States.

Young Internet companies can often take several years to reach profitability, and Living Social has not been an exception. The company lost $650 million in 2012, compared with $499 million in 2011, although it appears to be losing money at a slower rate this year.

Living Social is a private company and does not disclose its financial figures. Its financial results are contained in a Securities and Exchange Commission report filed by online retailer, which owns 29 percent of Living Social.

Living Social chief executive Tim O’Shaughnessy is the son-in-law of Donald E. Graham, the chairman and chief executive of The Washington Post Co.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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