Groupon shareholder Kinnevik heads for the door

Swedish investment group Kinnevik has cut its ties to Groupon (s GRPN), selling up its remaining stake in the daily deals company for $81.5 million.

It’s a significant return for Kinnevik, which invested just $2.9 million two years ago in German company MyCityDeal, shortly before it was purchased by Groupon.

But the exit could have been a lot higher had the Stockholm-based group been able to cash out around the time of Groupon’s IPO last November. Since then, amid controversy about its accounting procedures and heavy criticism of its sales tactics, the company’s shares have been on an almost constant slide.

That means by the time Kinnevik sold its 8.3 million shares, the stock price had fallen from 26.11 to just 9.74 — effectively drastically slashing what looked like a potential $190 million payday seven months ago by 60 percent. Getting out as early as they could suggests Kinnevik didn’t see the price going up any time soon.

The move is also significant because it severs another high-level connections between Groupon and MyCityDeal.

The German clone was set up by the notorious Samwer brothers in 2009 as a direct copycat of the Chicago-based company, and although it still acts as Groupon’s European arm, chief Marc Samwer left his post as Groupon’s international chief in April.