Peloton Looking for Investor Like Apple to Buy 20% of Company

Peloton is looking for a major company like Apple or Amazon to buy a stake of around 20 percent in its business in an effort to improve the company's fortunes amid dwindling demand for its products and fierce competition from services like Apple Fitness+, according to a report from Bloomberg.

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Sources believed to be familiar with the matter speaking to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Ed Hammond claim that Peloton is seeking a big-name corporation or private equity firm that could help to validate Peloton's business in a show of confidence with a significant investment. The company is reportedly already contacting potential buyers, but the process remains at an early stage.

Following months of bleak news about Peloton's "precarious state" as demand for the company's products has dried up, including the revelation that it had halted production of its bikes and treadmills, Apple was floated as a potential buyer of the troubled fitness business at the start of this year.

In January, it emerged that Peloton was temporarily stopping production of its connected fitness products for up to six months due to a "significant reduction" in consumer demand, a pressing need to control costs, and amplified competitor activity. As a business, Peloton has high customer acquisition costs, translating to high product pricing. Toward the end of last year, the company reduced the price of its entry-level bike by almost 20 percent to $1,495 in an attempt to drive up sales through the end of 2021. It then emerged that the company was planning to lay off 41 percent of its sales and marketing staff.

The company's fiscal forecasts did not take into account new delivery and setup fees between $250 and $350 that customers had to pay on top of the cost of the Bike or Tread. In addition, Peloton saw low email capture rates for its $495 strength training product, "Peloton Guide," and has struggled to rekindle momentum after heightened interest in its products during lockdowns in 2020 stalled. There are also indications that Peloton is losing market share in the connected fitness industry.

Peloton CEO John Foley said that the company is "taking significant corrective actions to improve our profitability outlook and optimize our costs." The Information reported that Peloton's production halt and the precarious state of its business looks like a prelude to an acquisition by a bigger company, positing that Apple is the ideal candidate to buy Peloton:

If Peloton is to have a future, it would be better off as part of a bigger, more diversified company. Apple is an ideal candidate to take on that project. It has the Fitness+ subscription service for classes and it markets the Apple Watch as a device that can help with jogging and other exercise activities. It could close Peloton's stores and sell the equipment through its own stores. And hey, after today, Peloton's market capitalization is down to $7.9 billion. Cook could pay for that by dipping into the change jar in his kitchen.

The idea of Apple acquiring Peloton then gathered steam among some market observers, with the possibility being weighed up by The Motley Fool, Inc., and more. Even so, Apple has expressed no interest in acquiring Peloton or buying a stake in the company.

It is highly unlikely that a company like Apple could acquire Peloton's entire business by aggressive means since Peloton co-founder John Foley is part of a group that controls the company with super-voting stock, while CEO Barry McCarthy has said that this sort of deal is not his wish.

Currently, Peloton's main goal appears to be to obtain a single, significant investment from a well-known backer, rather than be acquired in its entirety. Receiving a major new supporter like Apple or Amazon could help to calm panicked investors, but the news that the company was seeking further investment caused Peloton shares to fall further this week. The stock is already down around 80 percent over the past year.

Apple may also be disinterested in any stake in Peloton due to possessing its own connected fitness brand, Apple Fitness+. Analyst Neil Cybart previously highlighted how Peloton is actively threatened by Apple Fitness+, not least because it is considerably cheaper, costing up to $388.01 less annually for digital classes alone. Cybart cautioned that without major changes in 2022, "Peloton is on track to be a Fitbit 2.0 - a company unable to compete with the giants subsidizing health and fitness tracking as an ecosystem feature." Peloton will report its latest quarterly earnings next week.

Top Rated Comments

GLS Avatar
24 months ago
Sigh.

I bought a bike 4 months ago. In my adulthood, it is, without a doubt, the single most important thing exercise wise I've ever done for myself. Nothing appealed to me. But after months of research, reading reviews, watching videos, etc I jumped in, ordered a bike right after Christmas, received it...and I've done 150 classes since. I've also lost almost 20 lbs, feel better, well, you get the idea.

And now, it's highly possible the company is not long for this Earth. Their content blows away Apple fitness, their bike is high quality (can't speak of their treadmill, since I don't have one), and their interactive features are well designed and engineered. They literally have the entire package, right now, today.

But their stupid ass founder literally set piles of money on fire and now, they have nothing to show for it other than a gloomy future.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BootsWalking Avatar
24 months ago
Will be cheaper for Apple to wait and buy them after the inevitable bankruptcy.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Doomtomb Avatar
24 months ago
Good luck with that
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sciomar Avatar
24 months ago

Apple has invested in companies before without totally buying them out. Examples include Acorn Computer (now ARM), Akamai, and a $150M investment in Samsung in 1997 to bring down the cost of LCD panels.
The different is those were smart business moves, it is not smart investing in a company like Peloton.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zubikov Avatar
24 months ago
Translation: give us your money, and your untarnished brand, and we'll maybe give you a board seat but give up no control.

Lol, no!

How about this...the CEO can keep buying houses in the Hamptons while throwing parties only for models and trainers, while the rest of the company stays alienated and lost. This way you'll bleed out all the cash and equity, and Apple, Amazon, Google or someone else can just buy you for pennies on the dollar.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sciomar Avatar
24 months ago
The company with one of the most unsustainable business plans is looking for outside investors to help it try to stay afloat. Ha! Apple should offer a low bid to buy it out, gut the company, and add the product to its fitness lineup.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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