Sorry, Blue Apron, you just got Amazon'd.
Just two weeks ago, the meal-prep delivery startup looked as if it would coast through the road show for its initial public offering and start public trading with a juicy valuation of about $3 billion. Then the deal-happy retail juggernaut Amazon shelled out $13.7 billion to buy Whole Foods.
It was terrible timing for Blue Apron. Many potential investors quickly identified the possibility of more competition in the food-delivery industry and ran the other way.
As a result, Blue Apron took a cleaver to its IPO range, cutting it to $10 to $11 a share, down from $15 to $17. The company ultimately priced at $10 a share late Wednesday — 40% below the maximum it had sought. And, at $1.9 billion, the company's market cap at the IPO price is less than the $2 billion valuation it fetched in its most recent round of private fund-raising.
Any shareholders hoping for relief were sorely disappointed Thursday, when Blue Apron opened for trading at $10. The stock rose by 3.9% to $10.39 at 10:36 a.m. ET.
This is just the latest example of Amazon imposing its will on an industry, erasing billions of dollars of competitors' market value in the process. Armed with a war chest of cash and growing at an astronomical pace, the Jeff Bezos-led tech titan is clearly not afraid to throw its weight around.
Just ask Kroger, Costco, and Target, which before the Blue Apron debacle were the latest set of companies to get Amazon'd.
Their reckoning came after the Whole Foods acquisition, as investors interpreted Amazon's likely focus on e-commerce and grocery delivery as bad news for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. A group of grocers under the Business Insider-coined acronym WDSTCK — Walmart, Dollar General, SuperValu, Target, Costco, and Kroger — lost $24 billion in market value in just one week following the deal announcement.
Even peripherally related industries got Amazon'd to an extent after the Whole Foods deal. A group of pharmacy stocks known as CWACME — CVS, Walgreens, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal, McKesson, and Express Scripts — dropped on news of the acquisition, losing roughly $7 billion in a week.
Amazon's influence, however, can be a double-edged sword. The sneaker giant Nike soared by 2% on June 21 after it was announced that Amazon would begin selling its products directly. Nike is up by 3.5% since.
Investor attention will now turn to Amazon's next endeavor. The pivot into grocery retail surprised many people, and it shows more than ever that no industry is off-limits.
As of right now, one thing is certain: It's Amazon's world, and everyone else is just living in it.