It’s fair to say that Peloton — the tech darling of a pandemic-struck era where gyms were out of bounds and much of the world was stuck at home — has struggled to transition to a post-lockdown world. The company has lost more than $20 billion of value since November and has had to deal with the unfortunate subject of a (fictional) death in the Sex and the City reboot.
Amazon to the rescue? That’s the story reported by the Wall Street Journal, which mentions the retail giant as one of a number of "potential suitors" interested in purchasing the maker of connected exercise bikes, treadmills and interactive streamed fitness classes.
While a buyout for the firm may be a gamble — even for a company with the depth of Amazon’s pockets — you can certainly see the sense of it. Amazon has made its first steps into the world of fitness with its Halo Band tracker, and this would give it a big push forward. The virtual classes could be another tempting extra for those with a Prime subscription, and perhaps most importantly of all, the company’s global logistics network could get over the big problem of shipping bulky exercise equipment to customers around the world.
While the report is vague on the identities of the other potential suitors one name that has come up in the past as a possible buyer is Apple, which of course has its own stake in the world of fitness with the Apple Watch and Apple Fitness Plus.
But that feels like too big a leap to be a serious proposition. As Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman wrote in a recent issue of his Power On newsletter, Peloton doesn’t feel like a natural fit for Apple: fitness equipment is low margin, hard to distribute and not subject to the upgrade cycles that the company relies on with its hardware.
“Of course, some Peloton investors would love the idea of Apple swooping in,” Gurman concluded, noting that Disney and Nike had also been linked with a possible bid. “But for now, that’s just wishful thinking. Apple certainly needs to expand its fitness product line, but I don’t think acquiring Peloton is the solution.”
The possible Amazon bid sounds a bit more grounded in reality. But there are still plenty of hurdles to be overcome for it to happen even if, on paper, it feels like a good fit.