News & Politics

LivingSocial Slashes Another 200 Workers in Latest "Reorganization"

Photograph by Flickr user Danny Lee.

LivingSocial, once the darling of Washington’s tech economy, is laying off 200 employees—or about one-fifth its workforce—in a move the online-coupon company calls a “corporate reorganization.” The cuts, which include some in the company’s DC headquarters, are taking place immediately, according to a company press release.

“This action is difficult, yet it allows us to operate more efficiently, while focusing our investments into accelerating progress toward our mission of becoming a leading experiences marketplace,” the company’s chief executive, Gautam Thakar, says in the release.

The company’s latest transformation from the daily-discount subscription website it was born as is a described as a “multi-year journey.” So far, the projects launched to achieve Thakar’s goal include a pilot program in Atlanta that gives users discounts for using registered credit cards at participating restaurants, and a program in Austin, Texas, that does a similar thing with spa and beauty treatments.

But the multi-year journey has also been a brutal one. The 200 layoffs announced Wednesday come nearly a year after LivingSocial slashed 400 jobs and almost three years after the company announced its first major bloodletting of 400 workers. When today’s dismissals are complete, the company, which once boasted a global payroll of 5,000, will have just 800 employees left worldwide. LivingSocial’s founder, Tim O’Shaughnessy, resigned in January 2014 and is now the president of Graham Holdings.

Washington Business Journal reports that 30 employees at LivingSocial’s DC headquarters will lose their jobs, reducing the company’s local payroll to about 300. It once boasted more than 1,000 workers, with plans to double that figure and build a 200,000-square-foot office in exchange for a $33 million tax break then-Mayor Vince Gray signed 2012. But with none of the conditions of that deal met, District taxpayers will get to keep that money.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.