E-commerce and cloud giant Amazon has been consulting its advisers about the possibility of purchasing Peloton, according to The Wall Street Journal. And it may not be the only bigger company that's eyeing the exercise equipment maker: The Financial Times says Nike is thinking of purchasing it, as well. Neither company has held talks with Peloton yet, and they may end up not making an offer at all.
Peloton became a hit at the beginning of the pandemic, when people were looking for fitness alternatives after their gyms closed due to lockdowns. In fact, it reached a market value of $50 billion in January 2021 — a far cry from its current $8 billion valuation. CNBC reported in January that the company had halted its Bike and Tread production amid slowing demand caused by several factors, including stiffer competition. Company CEO John Foley later denied that Peloton was pausing production in a letter to employees, but he admitted that it's "resetting [its] production levels for sustainable growth."
A few days after that report came out, BuzzFeed News published a story about several workers claiming that the company owes them money over unpaid labor. The workers are accusing Peloton of not paying them for overtime and work accomplished during breaks, as well as of not reimbursing them for company expenses.
If Amazon truly is thinking of acquiring Peloton, it could use the company to expand its health and wellness offerings and make it easier for customers to get their hands on one of its bikes or treadmills. It certainly has the capacity to ensure delivery delays, like what happened to Peloton last year, don't happen again. As The Journal notes, an acquisition would also give Amazon access to users' data, which would be useful for its future health and wellness projects.
Peloton hasn't dropped any hint that it's looking for a new owner, but activist investor Blackwells Capital is calling for Foley to be ousted and for the company to start finding a potential buyer. Blackwells accused Foley of making decisions that cost the company $40 billion, including misleading investors about certain information and hiring his wife in an executive role.