JANA Partners, Looking To Dabble In Necromancy, Takes 2% Stake In Blue Apron

Blue Apron might not be quite dead yet.

When your stock has dropped by half since you IPO'ed less than two months ago, your first quarter results were essentially the reveal of a gaping wound from which money is pouring and even your underwriters have decided that yeah, this whole thing was a bad idea, it might feel like only a miracle will revive your dying stock price.


Blue Apron knows what we're talking about. And it might have just gotten a potential miracle worker from a surprising and yet totally predictable source. JANA Partners has reportedly just revealed a 2% stake in everyone's favorite tech retail tire fire:

Jana Partners LLC disclosed the investment on Monday in a regulatory filing, sending Blue Apron shares up 5%. Representatives for Blue Apron and Jana declined to comment.

While we're reasonably certain that Blue Apron CEO Matt Salzberg is not jumping for joy at the idea of a hyperactivist like JANA taking a very concrete interest in how his beloved creation is being managed, we humble suggest that he should at least skip around a little. Because, sure, activists are never a welcome sight for people who founded and fostered a company with their own sweat and equity, but in the case of Blue Apron and JANA, Salzberg should lay out the red carpet (or blue carpet if he's corny).

JANA's recent success with Whole Foods is not just a good sign that the fund knows the space, it also conveys JANA's capitulation to the reality that Jeff Bezos is the baddest motherfucker on the block right now, a truth that Blue Apron has been tragically slow to acknowledge. Salzberg and his team might hate the fact that JANA just kicked their door in, but as long as they're inside, Salzberg might as well listen to what Barry Rosenstein has to say.

After all, The Street seems to like this pairing. Look at APRN's trading day so far:

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 1.29.12 PM

It's not the prettiest chart we've ever seen, but for this stock it looks like the part in every medical drama where everyone thinks the flatlining patient is dead and then the heart monitor beeps, making everyone sigh with relief that there is a fighting chance to save this life.

And why wouldn't JANA take a shot at financial necromancy here, what with all that Whole Foods profit just sitting there and APRN being cheaper than Blue Apron meal?

Jana Takes Stake in Blue Apron [WSJ]