It’s been a bumpy ride for Peloton during the past few months — and now the connected fitness company could be attracting acquisition interest from some powerful bidders.
In two separate reports, Nike and Amazon were named as potential suitors for Peloton. The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon has reached out to the company about a potential deal. Later, The Financial Times said Nike is considering a bid. (The FT said Nike and Amazon have not held talks with Peloton).
Speculation about a sale comes amid a Peloton stock plunge — shares have fallen about 80% in the past year as the pandemic entered a new phase and consumers returned to the gym. The company said last month it was halting production of bikes and treadmills on slipping demand.
Last week, Blackwells Capital LLC. sent a letter to the Peloton board of directors calling on it to remove CEO John Foley “as a result of his multiple leadership failures.” In addition, the letter asked the board to consider selling the company.
If the company does put itself on the block, would Nike be a good fit? At least one industry expert doesn’t think so.
“Nike has always struggled with equipment and is totally out of the equipment game,” said Matt Powell, senior sports industry adviser for NPD. “Nike wants to be a software company not a hardware one. Plus, I am not optimistic about the future of Peloton.”
Nike — which in December acquired RTFKT, a digital creator of virtual sneakers — has been doubling down on its digital growth strategy, which has become even more important as the company ramps up its DTC business and decreases its reliance on wholesale.
In Q2, Nike’s North American digital business grew 40 % year-over-year, and now the segment makes up 30 % of all revenues in the region.
FN reached out to Peloton, Nike and Amazon for comment.
Following the Friday reports, Peloton shares were up about 26% in after-hours trading.