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Peloton’s Amazon Deal Could Be Prelude to Acquisition

Photo: Art by Shane Burke.

Peloton may have found its white knight. The fitness equipment maker’s decision to start selling its bike and other accessories through Amazon could be a first step toward Amazon buying the entire company. Certainly that seems to be investors’ interpretation—how else can one explain the 20% lift Peloton stock got on the news? Peloton management has to be betting on that as well. Otherwise, the distribution deal could end up hurting Peloton more than helping, by reminding shoppers it is just one of a number of firms offering exercise equipment and fitness classes.

Indeed, a search for Peloton bikes on Amazon’s website this morning brought up as the first entry a sponsored result for a MYX bike, a product from The Beachbody Company, available for $1,399. A listing for Peloton’s $1,445 bike was below that, and a little lower on the page was a listing for iFit’s NordicTrack, currently available for $1,199. Both Beachbody and iFit offer fitness classes that compete with Peloton’s. Selling through Amazon might help Peloton clear some of the backlog of inventory that has been weighing it down. And as Amazon’s listing implies it has already taken possession of that inventory, the deal might have provided Peloton with a valuable cash infusion. But it hardly solves the fundamental challenge of operating in a crowded market with a pricey product.

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