Investors think the meal-kit delivery service Blue Apron has a very dangerous enemy: Amazon.
Shares of the newly public meal-kit company dived again on Monday morning following news that Amazon had applied to trademark the phrase "We do the prep. You be the chef," suggesting that the e-commerce giant is planning to launch its own prepared meal-kit service.
Blue Apron's stock fell about 11% to $6.55 as of noon on Monday, down 35% from its initial public offering price of $10. The IPO had originally been projected to be priced between $15 and $17, but fell as concerns mounted about Blue Apron's high marketing spending, and due to pressure from Amazon's plan to buy Whole Foods.
The trademark application is for "prepared food kits composed of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruit and/or and vegetables and also including sauces or seasonings, ready for cooking and assembly as a meal" as well as frozen meals. While the filing doesn't mention delivery specifically, it is listed under, among other things, "retail store services and online retail store services in the field of fresh and prepared foods and dry goods."
The British newspaper The Times first reported the trademark application on Sunday.
Amazon and Blue Apron did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Amazon is planning to acquire Whole Foods for almost $14 billion, a move that put the fear of Bezos into much of the retail and grocery sector. The merger was announced while Blue Apron was preparing to go public, and may have contributed to the meal-kit company's bankers lowering their estimate for its share value until the day they began to trade.
While Amazon has said little about how it would operate Whole Foods, many analysts have speculated that some kind of meal-kit delivery service — using Amazon's existing logistics expertise and built-in network of Amazon Prime customers — would be a natural integration between the two.
Not all patents and trademarks registered by technology companies turn into actual services, but Blue Apron has been a skittish stock since it went public late last month — it fell over 10% last week after a brokerage firm put out a research report pegging its value at only $2 a day. Amazon shares were up by less than 1% by mid-Monday.
Matthew Zeitlin is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Zeitlin reports on Wall Street and big banks.
Contact Matthew Zeitlin at email@example.com.
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