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Groupon's coffee buzz: Starbucks' CEO joins board, invests in site

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AP
Howard Schultz is joining the board of Groupon, the web 'coupon' site, as well as making a financial investment. The Starbucks CEO is pictured last March in Seattle at the company's annual shareholders meeting.

Howard Schultz announced his investment in the enormously popular consumer-discount site Groupon Thursday. At the same time, Groupon confirmed the Starbucks CEO's election to its board

TechFlash's John Cook reports Schultz' investment "is not connected to Starbucks":

...but having the leader of the world's leading specialty coffee retailer on the board certainly will add some interesting possibilities. Starbucks has been expanding its digital footprint aggressively in recent months, adding features such as mobile payments and free in-store wi-fi.

Maveron's co-founder, Dan Levitan, would not comment on the amount of the investment it's making in Groupon, according to TechFlash. Levitan tells Cook :

"We think Groupon is an incredibly exciting, fast-growing company whose product is spot-on to consumers' needs and has integrated into consumers' lives throughout the world at an amazingly fast clip."

As Forbes.com reported last year, Groupon is considered the fastest-growing web company in history.  Cook reports the Chicago-based firm turned down a $6 billion buyout offer by Google recently. Last month it raised about $950 million from investors, according to a company statement.

According to TechFlash, Groupon is expanding to China, a country where Starbucks opened business in 1999 and how has more than 400 stores.