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Peloton is in freefall. These are the companies most likely to buy it

February 9, 2022, 12:00 AM UTC

Relief may be coming for troubled Peloton amid rumors that the at-home fitness giant is being courted for a possible takeover bid.

The early pandemic darling was never able to adjust to lower demand for its products after COVID-19 lockdowns were lifted, and people were able to leave their homes and venture to in-person gyms. Since their all-time high a year ago, the company’s shares have fallen over 80% as investors grew skittish about poor earnings and sluggish future growth. 

On Monday, Peloton underwent a shakeup, with CEO John Foley stepping down; he’ll continue to serve as executive chairman. The company also said it would cut 2,800 jobs, or around 30% of its workforce, to reduce costs. 

Meanwhile, Peloton is said to be attracting potential buyers including Amazon, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. Sports apparel giant Nike is also weighing its options, according to the Financial Times.

Peloton did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

In an open letter to Peloton last month, hedge fund Blackwells Capital bemoaned the state of the company and named four potential acquirers—Nike, Apple, Disney, and Sony. Peloton and its customer base would be “attractive to any number of technology, streaming, metaverse and sportswear companies.” Blackwells said at the time. 

For Nike, acquiring Peloton would help bolster its line of at-home workout content. Nike has debuted several new personal fitness devices through its online Training Club, and recently filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Lululemon after the rival began selling Mirror, another interactive at-home fitness device.

For a tech company like Amazon, which already depends on subscriptions for some of its business, Peloton may be an additional benefit to offer customers. In addition to exposing Peloton’s exercise equipment to a wider number of potential customers, Amazon could fold a Peloton exercise class subscription into its existing Prime membership or sell Peloton subscriptions for extra. 

“Fitness could be viewed as the next consumer experience to be digitized, after books, music, video, and video games,” wrote Rohit Kulkarni, managing director at MKM Partners.

Peloton may also appeal to tech companies looking to push further into health and fitness. Apple, with its move into health through Apple Watch, and similarities between Apple and Peloton’s customer bases, is one possibility, Eric Schiffer, CEO of private equity firm Patriarch Organization, told Fortune

He stressed that any acquisition is speculative. Though he said that a deal, if it happens at all, would come sooner rather than later.  “If there’s going to be an acquisition, you’re going to know this quarter,” Schiffer predicts. “And if not, you’ll continue to see a bleed out of Peloton’s stock.”

Amid the reported takeover interest, Peloton’s stock rose 25% on Tuesday.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the name of Peleton’s CEO.

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