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SmartSource and Checkout 51 just got sold, and while we won’t see immediate changes, we may see a few different things in the future. What does this mean for couponers like us? Read on to find out.

Here’s what happened and where SmartSource and Checkout 51 currently stand:


News Corp. put SmartSource and Checkout 51 up for sale in June 2019.

A copy of the Wall Street Journal held up in front of an outdoor newspaper stand.

SmartSource and Checkout 51 are owned by News Marketing America (NMA). NMA is owned by parent company News Corp., which also owns Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Harper-Collins and more.

While Roger Thomson, News Corp. CEO, admits that there’s still value to the “in-store marketing” that SmartSource and Checkout 51 drive, he says News Corp. is interested in focusing more effort on its core business — publishing — and getting away from coupons and promotions.


The real problem? Checkout 51 can’t keep up with Ibotta, and SmartSource coupons are paper.

A shopper scans a receipt with her smartphone to redeem a digital offer.

It’s not a crime to be paper, but for coupons, it’s becoming more of an issue.

First, let’s be fair. Paper coupons still represent a third of all coupons redeemed, so while we can see that News Corp. isn’t interested anymore, clearly couponers are! That said, shoppers are overall more interested in digital coupons than paper.

While Checkout 51 is digital, it hasn’t been as nimble as Ibotta in adopting clipless coupons and discounts that don’t require a receipt, causing it to fall behind in the race to attract couponers.


$253 million dollars and 10 months later, SmartSource and Checkout 51 have a buyer.

Six newspaper inserts spread out on a countertop. Insert on top is SmartSource.

Charlesbank Capital Partners, an equity firm that specializes in buying businesses, investing in them, and flipping them for profit, bought SmartSource and Checkout 51 this month.

Other Charlesbank purchases include Del Taco, Rockport shoes, and other struggling middle-market companies.

Aiming to hold a company no longer than five years, Charlesbank attempts to turn them around and make them more successful before selling at a higher price.

This means we’ll likely see SmartSource and Checkout 51 for sale again in a couple years.



SmartSource and Checkout 51 could experience a further expansion into digital couponing.

Harris-Teeter shelf tag showing Vestcom's marketing.

Charlesbank also owns Vestcom, which makes store shelf tags. These shelf tags have the capability to be converted into something shoppers could scan to download digital coupons.

Will Charlesbank expand SmartSource and Checkout 51 in that way? It’s just speculation at this point, but I for one, hope they do!


RELATED: Easy Steps to Start Couponing This Weekend


As of today, SmartSource and Checkout 51 coupons are still available.

Shopper cutting out a paper coupon from a newspaper insert.

You can still redeem SmartSource and Checkout 51 coupons. We don’t know when or if this will change, but you’ll be the first to hear about it if it does!


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SmartSource and Checkout 51 Just Got Sold!