Blue Apron is being acquired by Wonder Group (Photo: Business Wire).
A leading meal kit provider is being purchased by a company founded by the former head of e-commerce of Walmart.
Blue Apron has entered into a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by food and restaurant startup Wonder Group for $13 in cash per share of Class A common stock, or approximately $103 million. Wonder Group says this purchase is a step on its way to the planned development of a “meal time super app.”
Marc Lore, who is credited with transforming Walmart’s e-commerce operations and served as president and CEO of Walmart U.S. e-Commerce from 2016 to January 2021, founded Wonder Group and committed himself full time to the business in December 2021. Initially,Wonder operated a fleet of trucks that delivered made-to-order meals ordered online through the Wonder app directly to the customer’s home. Each truck was equipped with a mobile kitchen, with a chef completing the meal once the vehicle arrived at the customer’s home. Each truck was dedicated to a particular menu, including those from top restaurants headed by celebrity chefs.
In January, however, Wonder abandoned the mobile food trucks and pivoted to a more conventional ghost kitchen model, operating ten kitchens around New Jersey and New York. In addition to delivery, Wonder offers in-location dining and pickup at the locations. Its menu includes offerings from celebrated chefs and restaurants.
According to Blue Apron and Wonder Group, the merger is expected to enhance both companies’ abilities to deliver chef-curated meals to more customers across the country. Following the close of this transaction, Wonder plans to continue Blue Apron’s current operations serving customers nationwide under the Blue Apron brand, with expected new synergies between consumer-facing apps and delivery logistics.
Following Blue Apron’s shift to an asset light business, as a result of the May 2023 sale of its operational infrastructure to and strategic partnership with prepared meal provider FreshRealm, which will continue, the company received a proposal from Wonder.
The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions. The closing of the transaction is not subject to any financing conditions or regulatory approvals. Wonder will acquire any remaining shares of Blue Apron through a second-step merger at the same price per share paid in the initial offer.
“By joining forces with Wonder, we continue to realize our vision of Better Living Through Better Food, and support how families and loved ones come together over food,” said Blue Apron president and CEO Linda Findley. “Wonder and Blue Apron deliver high-quality, chef-curated meals, making this a great match to offer more incredible mealtime experiences. The Blue Apron brand and products that our customers know and love will stay the same, with more opportunity for product expansion in the future. Further, the transaction delivers immediate and certain value for Blue Apron stockholders at a significant premium over recent trading prices.”
“Wonder is creating the mealtime super app, serving a broad range of occasions that feature cuisines from some of the world’s best chefs and restaurants while leveraging our culinary engineering and vertically-integrated model,” said Wonder Group founder and CEO, Marc Lore. “At-home meals play a key role in this vision and have been on our strategic roadmap since the beginning. When the opportunity presented itself to unite with Blue Apron, pioneers in the meal kit industry, we knew it would accelerate our strategic position, create immediate opportunities for synergy and most importantly, enable us to further delight customers by expanding the ways you can access and experience Wonder. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Blue Apron to the Wonder platform and look forward to working with Linda and her exceptional team.”
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC is acting as exclusive financial advisor and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP is acting as legal counsel to Blue Apron. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is acting as exclusive financial advisor and Fenwick & West LLP is acting as legal counsel to Wonder.
Launched in 2012, Blue Apron offers fresh, chef-designed meals. Everything fulfilled by Wonder Group is made-to-order in a Wonder location and delivered by a Wonder courier, or available for pick-up and dine-in as well