It seems Boxed will soon need to beat off its suitors with a stick.
According to a new report in the New York Post, the buy-in-bulk e-commerce site — which some have called the “Costco for millennials — has reportedly drawn the interest of another retail giant: Amazon.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos personally invited Boxed CEO Chieh Huang to visit him in Seattle to discuss an acquisition, the report says.
The news comes after an earlier report that grocery giant Kroger was mulling an investment or acquisition offer for Boxed. Kroger made an offer for Boxed in the $300 to $400 million range, but it was not accepted, according to the Post, and Kroger has not yet made another bid.
A Forbes article from earlier in the month reported that Boxed was looking for an offer in the $500 million range. Boxed’s latest valuation of $470 million came in when it last raised investment funds in 2016.
Boxed could raise additional capital if a deal isn’t reached for an acquisition, Forbes reported. The Post also reported that General Mills and Bed Bath & Beyond were interested in investing in Boxed.
Boxed is billed as the millennial-friendly alternative to wholesale stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. A club-based system without the membership fee, Boxed offers items in bulk, ranging from household brands and its Prince & Spring private label to services like hotel booking.
An acquisition of Boxed by Amazon would give the company serious buy-in-bulk chops, which the e-commerce giant has not yet leaned into. Preventing a large grocery rival from acquiring it would be a competitive play. For Kroger, Boxed’s e-commerce prowess is no-doubt attractive.
Boxed was founded in 2013 and is about to grow to five distribution centers across the country with $100 million in yearly sales and nearly 300 employees. It has raised over $132 million in investment, including a $100 million round in 2016.
Amazon declined to comment on the report. Boxed and Kroger did not immediately return a request for comment.
Source: Business Insider