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Albertsons buys Plated, a Blue Apron rival

Albertsons, the grocery store giant owned by Cerberus Capital Management, has acquired Plated, a New York-based meal-box subscription service that had raised around $90 million in venture capital funding. No financial terms were disclosed, but The Information reports a price tag of between $175 million and $200 million, with earn-outs that could nearly double the take.

  • Why it matters: Because this could presage new takeover interest in Plated rival Blue Apron, which has stunk up the public markets like a piece of rancid steak. Albertsons getting into meal-box delivery is a much more direct threat to grocers like Kroger than is Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods, given both shopper demographics and the reality that Amazon would still need to figure out sourcing and packaging. Not surprisingly, Blue Apron shares gained in aftermarket trading on the news, and are up again this morning.
  • ROI: It's not all that great for Plated's most recent investors, unless that earn-out is achieved. PitchBook reports the company's Series B round from August 2016 had a $128 million post-money valuation. The Series A post-money, however, was just $50 million.
  • Bottom line: "Albertsons, owner of the Safeway chain with roughly 2,300 stores, will market the meals to millions of store customers, while Plated also continues its online and television advertising campaigns." — WSJ
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