Blue Apron on Friday said it would be acquired by food-delivery startup Wonder Group in a $103 million deal — a far cry from the nearly $2 billion valuation for the meal-kits company when it went public in 2017.
Its stockholders will receive $13 per share, a 137% premium to the stock’s Thursday closing price of $5.49.
Its shares more than doubled in premarket trading on Friday.
The transaction is expected to close by year’s end, Blue Apron said, and the privately held Wonder — owned by Marc Lore — plans to continue its current operations and keep the brand, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Representatives for Blue Apron declined to comment beyond the company’s press release.
The New York-based company agreed to the sale after a years-long battle with rivals that spanned from HelloFresh to grocers Kroger and Whole Foods, which offer their own same-day delivery services.
Blue Apron was the first meal-kit company to go public in June 2017, with a valuation of $1.89 billion.
A so-called pandemic darling, Blue Apron initially enjoyed an influx of customers seeking to take advantage of its sign-up offers which, at first, offered 17 free meals — a $130 value — but was since slashed to 13 free meals.
However, many of the consumers who took advantage of free offerings never re-upped their subscription.
By 2022, the company was starved for cash as it waited for $56.5 million in funding from a key founding investor, Joseph Sandberg, though it was far from the first time Blue Apron dealt with a cash crunch concern.
Last May, Sandberg, who runs RJB Partners, asked his social media followers whether he should take the company private.
He had just led a $70.5 million stock capital and debt infusion in the company.
Come late 2022, Blue Apron laid off about 10% of its corporate workforce in a move that it hoped would save the struggling company $50 million.
It’s now being sold to a company that has experienced its own fair share of volatility over the years.
Wonder, a food-delivery startup headed by Lore — the former CEO of Walmart’s US e-commerce division — was founded in 2018 with the intention of building out a network of food truck restaurants serving up curbside meals inspired by popular chefs like Bobby Flay, according to The Journal.
After Wonder’s fleet of 500 food trucks had a short-lived stint driving around New York and New Jersey’s suburbs, Lore shifted to a less expensive strategy that involved a restaurant-delivery model involving a network of kitchens.
Wonder currently runs four bricks-and-mortar locations and will end the year with 10, The Journal reported.
Despite the shift, Wonder has maintained its multibillion-dollar valuation.
After closing a $350 million funding round in June 2022, the company was valued at roughly $3.5 billion.
Lore told The Journal that the Blue Apron deal will bring him one step closer to achieving his goal of creating a “super-app” for meal time.
“Making great food more accessible was something that really bonded us early on in the discussions,” he said.
Representatives for Wonder did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.