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ICD buys stake in Gustazos parent company SCI

Published:Friday | July 31, 2015 | 7:01 AM
Peter Melhado, CEO of ICD Group.

ICD Group Holdings has bought a minority stake in Social Commerce Inc, a Puerto Rican holding company for regional dealmaking website Gustazos and other Internet-based services.

But neither ICD Chairman Joseph M. Matalon nor CEO Peter Melhado were willing to disclose the size of the Jamaican conglomerate's interest in SCI nor the amount paid for the acquisition, citing a confidentiality agreement.

The transaction will mean an injection of growth capital for SCI, to be used primarily to deepen the penetration of Gustazos within the Caribbean and throughout Latin America, ICD said in a statement.

ICD is already a joint-venture partner in Gustazos, a branch of which operates out of its offices in downtown Kingston. ICD was also mum on its investment it the Gustazos partnership when the online coupon site was officially announced in May.

The investment was ICD's first e-commerce venture, in partnership with Social Media Group LLC. The coupon service also operates in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and the Canary Islands.

"We are particularly keen to bring the Gustazos brand to Jamaican merchants and consumers, where we have already seen a vibrant response in the first few months of operation," said Melhado.

The Gustazos Jamaica site publishes daily deals offering price discounts from 50 per cent to 90 per cent at partner restaurants, hotels, attractions, spas, shops and other merchants.

The number of merchants signed up so far for Gustazos Jamaica was not disclosed, but Melhado said the service has been doing good business.

Across the coupon service's regional markets, Gustazos has saved its customers "over US$100 million on everything from hotel stays to spa treatments, restaurant meals, and a variety of lifestyle offerings" in four years of operation, SCI co-founder and CEO Luke Todesco said in the joint statement with ICD.

SCI's other online services include a reservation system for small hotels, restaurants and attractions, Guesterve; fashion and lifestyle website Merodea; digital marketing agency JumpStart Digital; and live-streaming service Si3D.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com