Tim Cook, please call Peloton’s head office. Today’s CNBC scoop that Peloton has temporarily halted production of its bikes and treadmills feels like the prelude to an acquisition of the troubled fitness equipment maker. Surely Apple must be the obvious buyer if it comes to that. Judging by Peloton’s 24% stock plunge today to $24.22—85% below where it was trading this time last year and $5 below where it went public in 2019—investors have lost confidence in CEO John Foley.
And with good reason. Foley declared last August that “we are still in the first inning of Connected Fitness industry growth,” a misjudgement that’s likely to haunt him for some time to come. In reality, Covid-19 lockdowns created a boom that accelerated an expansion of the market into what seems more like the seventh inning. Yes, revenue from sales of Peloton’s bikes, treadmills and other products skyrocketed to $3.15 billion in fiscal 2021 from $734 million in fiscal 2019 (subscriptions to fitness classes also took off). But product sales fell 17% in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, catching Peloton management by surprise.