| SAN FRANCISCO, March 29
SAN FRANCISCO, March 29 Blue Apron, the biggest
U.S. meal kit company, has hired investment bankers to lead its
2017 initial public offering, according to people familiar with
Blue Apron's IPO is coming as competition heats up in the
meal kit industry, with companies delivering fresh ingredients
and recipes to subscribers. At least one of its rivals is
preparing its own IPO this year.
New York City-based Blue Apron has selected Goldman Sachs
, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc to lead
the offering that could come as soon as this fall, the sources
Blue Apron was valued as high as $2 billion in a June 2015
funding round. The company, which is not profitable, generated
about $750 million in revenues last year, according to one
The sources asked not to be named because the matter is
confidential. Blue Apron, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citi
could not be reached immediately for comment.
Blue Apron, which is named after the uniform that apprentice
chefs wear in France, delivers its prepackaged ingredients and
recipes to subscribers' doorsteps for them to prepare at home, a
new business model attempting to disrupt traditional grocery
Rivals are quickly springing up, with Plated in the U.S.
market, HelloFresh in Europe and Chefs Plate in Canada.
Reuters reported last week that Blue Apron competitor, Sun
Basket, which focuses on organic ingredients, has hired banks
for an IPO that could come in the second half of the year.
The IPO market for technology companies has gotten off to a
strong start this year after a listless 2016. Snapchat's owner,
Snap Inc raised $3.4 billion in an IPO earlier this
month, while software firms MuleSoft Inc and Alteryx
Inc have had strong IPO pricings in the past few weeks.
Blue Apron was founded in 2012 in New York City by three
friends. Bessemer Venture Partners, Stripes Group and Fidelity
are among its investors.
(Additional reporting by Lauren Hirsch in New Orleans; Editing
by Jeffrey Benkoe)