And then there were 45

By Frank Buhagiar on Monday 2 October 2023

And then there were 45
Image source: And then there were 45
CommentaryFoodTech Investment

Food on the Move: FFF’s weekly roundup of listed FoodTech’s movers & shakers

16/26/04 – the share price riser/faller/non-mover split in FFF’s listed foodtech space for the week ended Friday 29 September 2023.  Why the unseemly rush to offload the info?  Because another disappointing week for listed foodtech in terms of the share price riser/faller count, just the aperitif.  As for the main course, a quick recap is first required…

46 – the number of companies in FFF’s listed foodtech space following last week’s audit check in Food on the Move’s Time for a roll call.  Two down on the previous tally. Boxed Inc and The Very Good Food Co., the two dearly departed.  One week on, and it looks like another audit check could soon be on the cards. That’s because Blue Apron announced it has entered into an Agreement to be Acquired by Wonder Group for $13.00 per Share. Cue the main course.

Wonder Group? “…a company founded by entrepreneur Marc Lore that is redefining at-home dining and food delivery.”  Quick word or two from Mr Lore: “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. 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.”

As for the ‘Agreement’? “Under the terms of the merger agreement, which has been unanimously approved by Blue Apron’s Board of Directors, Blue Apron stockholders will be entitled to receive $13.00 in cash per share of Class A common stock through a tender offer, representing an equity value of approximately $103 million. The per share purchase price represents a 137% premium to the September 28, 2023 closing price and a 77% premium to the 30-day volume weighted average price of the Company’s Class A common stock.” According to Blue Apron’s press release: “The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023…” So, unless a newbie comes along, 46 likely to become 45. Assuming, that is, another stock doesn’t fall by the wayside…

And speaking of possible exiteers, Time for a roll call put former stock market darlings AppHarvest, Local Bounti and Kalera on the watch list. Of the three, AppHarvest did itself no favours this week.  Shares in the vertical farmer down another 26%.  Speculation that the sale of the company’s large Somerset greenhouse to Dutch indoor produce grower Bosch Growers could fall through, the culprit it appears.  Market cap now sub-$3m.  As for Local Bounti and Kalera – no news out from either. Local’s shares finished the week up 2%; Kalera’s unchanged.  Both live to fight another day.

Any other contenders for the watch list? With a market cap of around CAD 71 million, Verde Agritech, not an obvious candidate.  But a few more 41% share price falls like the one seen during the week ended 29 September 2023 and it will be.  News that “President and Chief Executive Officer, Cristiano Veloso, established an automatic securities disposition plan (‘ASDP’)” doesn’t seem to have gone down well with investors.  Unsurprising, when “Up to 4,903,967 shares, representing approximately 9% of the issued and outstanding shares of the Company, may be sold under the ASDP implemented by Mr. Veloso. The ASDP is designed to allow for an orderly disposition of the shares at prevailing market prices over the course of the 36-month period that sales under the ASDP are expected to take place.” An “orderly disposition”? Not the best of starts.

And not the biggest vote of confidence in the potash fertiliser co. from the founder.  Verde Agritech, the latest addition to the growing exiteer watch list…