Rumors are swirling that Blue Apron may be preparing to file for an IPO this year, with Reuters reporting that the company has hired bankers from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup to look into it.
However, according to TechCrunch, Blue Apron is most likely not working towards an IPO right now. Instead, it might simply be testing the waters to see if the rumors could attract potential buyers.
While competition is fierce — with Hello Fresh, Plated, Purple Carrot and Home Chef as just a few other meal kit companies out there — Blue Apron is one of the first in the market and has great name recognition. While it is not reported to be profitable yet, Blue Apron been investing in marketing and expanding its operations. Its estimated revenue last year approached $1 billion, and as of April 2016, it was selling 8 million meals per month. The company also recently made a deal to acquire BN Ranch, which will supply it with different meats.
While some of the possible potential suitors could be Costco, Whole Foods, Sysco Food Services, Amazon, Walmart or even a food and beverage producer like a Unilever or PepsiCo, sources say Blue Apron is not in the process of looking for a buyer either and needs to have a healthy margin before it can realistically attract potential suitors.
Of course, it could also be looking into an IPO, a process that might take years. As TechCrunch pointed out, it wouldn’t be the first time an unprofitable company went public. And it’s possible that the company’s investors, who have given Blue Apron nearly $200 million in funds, are looking for an exit strategy and pushing for an IPO.
Blue Apron declined to confirm or deny the IPO rumors.