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One of Peloton’s investors is set to call for CEO John Foley’s firing, as shares sink 80% from its all-time high

January 24, 2022, 4:10 AM UTC

Peloton Interactive Inc. is set to face calls from an activist investor to fire its chief executive officer and pursue a sale, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Blackwells Capital LLC, which has a stake of less than 5%, is preparing to push Peloton to fire CEO and co-founder John Foley, the person said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The investor also wants Peloton to explore a sale of the business, which could be an attractive acquisition target for larger technology or fitness firms, the person said.

A representative for Peloton didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Blackwells’ proposals, which were earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Peloton’s shares have tumbled more than 80% from their all-time high a year ago, as the gradual easing of pandemic-era restrictions fueled concern that growth of the stay-home fitness company will slow. The stock touched a nearly two-year low last week after CNBC reported that Peloton was temporarily halting production of its bikes and treadmills. Its quarterly earnings also missed analysts’ estimates. Peloton denied the CNBC report.

While Peloton has recently hired McKinsey & Co. to evaluate its business and costs, it’s unclear if a potential sale is on the cards or if Blackwells will succeed in ousting Foley. The former Barnes & Noble Inc. e-commerce executive and cycling enthusiast founded the company after posting a video to Kickstarter in 2013. The CEO and other insiders control over 80% of Peloton’s voting power as of Sept. 30, WSJ said in its report.

Peloton, which has slashed its annual forecast by about $1 billion, last week posted lower-than-expected revenue of $1.14 billion for the December quarter. Foley said in a statement the company is taking steps to improve its profitability outlook and optimize costs, pledging to provide more information on its cost-cutting plan when Peloton gives its formal earnings report on Feb. 8.  

The company’s public image also took a hit in December, when HBO Max’s “Sex and the City” reboot killed off a Peloton-riding character.

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