Shares of British online grocer Ocado Group soared last week after The Times newspaper reported “speculation of bid interest from more than one American suitor.”
The report suggests that big technology players could be weighing up their options with regard to Ocado and picks out Amazon as a potentially interested party.
Ocado and Amazon both declined to comment when contacted by CNBC and Reuters.
Shares of Ocado jumped as much as 43% on the news, before paring gains. The London-listed stock closed 32% higher.
Ocado licenses grocery delivery technology, which is used in the company’s retail division to bring food, beverages and household goods to more than 800,000 customers across the U.K., according to the company website. The online retailer sells own-brand items as well as Marks and Spencer products. Shares of Marks and Spencer were up 3% during afternoon deals in London.
In February, the company reported a pre-tax loss of £501 million ($652 million) for the year to November 2022, which was worse than analyst expectations.
Ocado attributed its losses to customers moving away from their large basket shopping habits of the pandemic, pressure from the cost-of-living crisis and inflationary strains, and increased marketing spending.
Reports had circulated in December saying that Ocado’s plans to expand had been put on ice, then in April the company announced it would be closing its oldest automated warehouse in Hatfield, north of London.