GrubHub May Be Considering a Sale

The online delivery company is reportedly working with an adviser to explore strategic options.
Lauren MuskettJanuary 9, 2020

Delivery company GrubHub might be exploring a sale after bringing in advisers to explore strategic options as online delivery competition heats up, The Wall Street Journal reported. Shares of the company surged 13% Wednesday after the report of the possible sale.

According to the Journal story, GrubHub has hired financial advisers to explore strategic options, including a sale or an acquisition, and has discussed its options in the event it is targeted by activist investors. The review is in its early stages, reportedly, and may not result in a deal.

A spokesperson for GrubHub said the company does not “comment on market rumors or speculation.”

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GrubHub shares fell 43% in October after the company cut its revenue guidance.

In a letter to shareholders, the company said it expected 2020 adjusted EBITDA of at least $100 million, down from a 2019 adjusted EBITDA consensus of $184 million. In 2018, GrubHub reported adjusted EBITDA of $234 million.

The company faces increasing competition from DoorDash and Postmates.

“As we dug into the data, we saw that our newer diners, particularly those in our newer markets, were not driving as many orders as we expected at that point in their lifecycle,” GrubHub said at the time. The letter said delivery customers had become “more promiscuous.”

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mandeep Singh said the company would likely be bought by a larger competitor like Uber or DoorDash or could be taken private, “given its bleak sales growth and margin view for 2020.”

According to research firm NPD Group, two billion digital restaurant orders were placed in the United States for the year ended September 2019, up 5% from the year before. However, delivery represented only about 3% of online restaurant orders. GrubHub has said it hopes to double the number of restaurants on its platform by the end of 2020.