Wednesday's announcement that grocery retailer Albertsons has agreed to acquire meal-kit service Plated sent shares of struggling rival Blue Apron (NYSE: APRN) to an intraday high of $5.68 on Thursday. Although a far cry from the $11 per share the company commanded during its first day of trading in June, it should give shareholders some hope that Amazon's game-changing acquisition of Whole Foods, or the tech giant’s own foray into meal-kits, doesn't spell game over for the formerly VC-backed company.
Indeed, Blue Apron's depressed performance on the public markets could make it a ripe M&A target for one of Amazon's rivals: The company's market cap is roughly half its valuation of some $1.89 billion at IPO. And that prospect did much to motivate buying at the open Thursday until selling pressure reappeared, cutting an intraday gain of roughly 1% down to 0.02% for the company.
However, strategic acquirers have no shortage of appetizing VC-backed targets to choose from:
Plated raised VC backing from the likes of Founder Collective, Greycroft Partners and Slow Ventures, achieving a $128.31 million valuation last August. Per The Information, Albertsons is paying between $175 million and $200 million. Plated will operate as a distinct brand under its existing management as part of Albertsons, a Cerberus Capital Management portfolio company since 2013.