Shares in Peloton have surged by 26% on reports that Amazon and Nike are considering bids for the connected fitness firm.
The value of the company, which sells stationary exercise bikes and treadmills, has plummeted in recent months as much of the world lifted COVID-19 restrictions and gyms reopened.
An acquisition would be opportunistic based on the collapse in share price, with the company’s market value falling from nearly $50bn (£36bn) last year to less than $8bn (£5.9bn) this week.
Who else is interested?
Other buyers are likely to emerge according to the Financial Times – “potentially including Apple and large private equity buyers”, those briefed on the matter said.
Shares in Peloton shot up 30% in after-hours trading after the Wall Street Journal reported Amazon’s interest on Friday. Nike’s interest was first revealed by the Financial Times.
That increase was reflected after Wall Street reopened for trading on Monday, adding $2bn to the company’s value within minutes of the opening bell.
But none of the companies named has yet held any talks with Peloton and the considerations are preliminary – and neither Amazon nor Nike confirmed or denied whether they were looking at Peloton.
The company is said to be considering redundancies and halting production due to low demand, which caused the share price to tumble by about a quarter in a single day.
Alongside the end to coronavirus restrictions that meant many people exercised at home rather than in gyms, Peloton has had to tackle bad PR when television shows featured characters having heart attacks while using its machines.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission says it has received dozens of reports of children and animals being pulled underneath the Tread+ machine and becoming trapped.
One child has died and others have been left with broken bones, cuts and bruises.
The safety commission said one child became pinned under the treadmill while one of their parents was running on it, which suggests they are dangerous even under the supervision of an adult.
Peloton Interactive Inc said the warning was “inaccurate and misleading” and that the machines were safe providing children and animals are kept away from them at all times.
UK consumers have also been advised to stop using Peloton treadmills after a product recall in the US.