Publix and Ocado Partnership Speculation Raises Shares
LONDON, ENGLAND - For those of you tracking the stock market, you may have noticed a certain British online grocer getting a big boost this week. Rumors that Ocado may be partnering with Publix for online grocery sales in the U.S. sent Ocado’s stock up nearly 30 points over the weekend, topping out at 326.70 on London’s stock exchange as of 4:55 PM GMT+1.
According to news source Telegraph, Ocado has been struggling to maintain investor support following the online retailer’s failure to live up to its promise of sealing a deal with an international retailer by the end of 2015. Now, having reportedly hired international consultancy agency Mace to advise it on its American debut, Ocado is garnering investor’s trust that a deal will be penned soon.
So who is the front-runner for a U.S. deal? Analysts have put one company at the top of their lists—Publix, exciting the retail community and shareholders alike. Publix, which has 1,111 store locations, previously had its groceries sourced by U.S. app company Shipt to deliver in South Florida, but the service has struggled to keep up with demand, Telegaph reports.
“We gave a deadline with the best intentions... but we realize we were over-optimistic about getting a deal done by the end of the year,” said Ocado’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Steiner in early February, explaining that Ocado was still in multiple discussions with prospective international partners regarding licensing its technology. Stiener added that it's “a big strategic decision” for them, stating "We expect to sign multiple deals in multiple territories in the medium term.”
Valued at $18 billion, Publix is one of the largest U.S. grocery chains, and currently serves Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama. Publix has yet to comment on the rumors.