Shares of The peloton (PTON) are down a staggering 70% this year. Co-founders John Foley and Hisao Kushi announced last week they were leaving the company. That news comes just seven months after Foley stepped down as CEO, and Peloton brought in former Spotify (SPOT) and Netflix (NFLX) chief financial officer Barry McCarthy to lead the company.
Peloton also announced job cuts at the time of McCarthy’s hiring and revealed more layoffs in August. It’s clear that the restructuring is not working yet. And a new $3,195 rower may not solve the company’s problems.
So maybe it’s time for Peloton to sell out to a larger company in the sports/athletic sector? Peloton was not immediately available for comment about a possible takeover.
But a marriage between Peloton and a sports apparel company or tech firm could make sense, especially since Lululemon (FLOWER) has already entered the home fitness market with its $500 million acquisition of Mirror in 2020.
With that in mind, Nike (NKE) hrs Adidas (ADDDF) could work out as potential Peloton buyers. Both companies recently launched Peloton-branded apparel collections as well.
Apple (AAPL) and Google owner Alphabet (GOOGLE) are already big players in the fitness tech market thanks to the Apple Watch and Google-owned Fitbit. Both companies are sitting on mountains of cash and could easily absorb Peloton. The company’s market value is now just $3.4 billion, down from a peak of nearly $50 billion in early 2021.
Amazon (AMZN) is also compelling as a potential Peloton owner. The retail giant just announced last month that it was planning to buy Roomba owner iRobot (IRBT), proof that the company is willing to bring more gadget makers in house. Peloton also recently announced that it would begin selling equipment and apparel on Amazon’s site.
Nike and Amazon were both mentioned in various media reports as potential acquirers for Peloton in February, just before McCarthy was hired. Still, Peloton might not be the most compelling takeover target just yet, according to Shweta Khajuria, an analyst with Evercore ISI.
Turnaround before takeover?
Khajuria said that McCarthy needs more time to cut costs and get the business back on track so that Peloton can start to post positive cash flow.
“Peloton would be a more attractive acquisition target after that. So nothing seems imminent in the current environment,” she said.
Analysts at Goldman Sachs also said in a report this week that there is a “heightened focus among investors on potential 2023 operational turnaround stories” and specifically cited Peloton as one of them.
McCarthy appeared at Goldman’s Communacopia tech and media conference this month, and Goldman analysts said he “continued to emphasize Peloton’s strategy for the digital subscription” and that “there was a lot of investor focus on how … to best capitalize on the market opportunity for connected fitness, at-home fitness and digital health.”
So it looks like Wall Street seems willing to give McCarthy a little more time to prove that his strategy to revitalize Peloton, with an increased focus on subscription revenue, can work.