Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Ocado entering U.S. market through technology deal with Kroger

20th Anniversary Of First Online Sale Bearish hedgies ate humble pie yesterday
Kelvin Reese | 18 May, 2018, 15:06

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said that as one of the most shorted stocks in the United Kingdom - where investors bet that a firm's share price will fall - Ocado's deal with Kroger was a "poke in the eye" for the hedge funds who have bet against it. Kroger said up to 20 new sites will be identified in the first three years of the agreement.

The Kroger deal is definitely Ocado's biggest yet but certainly not its first.

The two companies are now working to identify the first three sites to develop new automated warehouse facilities in the US.

Ocado has always been considered a weak link in the supermarket sector by some analysts who brand it grossly overvalued. The technology automates online grocery orders.

Added Kroger SVP of Business Development Alex Tosolini: "We look forward to innovating together with Ocado to provide our customers the best possible online and in-store experience". As part of the partnership agreement, Kroger will increase its existing investment in Ocado by five percent in a subscription rights agreement.

The new agreement is also one of a series of partnerships that Ocado has made with retailers around the world in order to share its innovative technology.

"We are actively creating a seamless digital experience for our customers", said Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen in a press release.

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Kroger had previously been experimenting with building in-house delivery and had also partnered with Target Corp-owned Shipt.

Shares of Kroger, based in Cincinnati, rose almost 3 percent in premarket trading.

This isn't the first such deal for Ocado, which has licensed out its technology to grocery companies in France, Canada and Sweden.

Co-founder and chief executive Tim Steiner saw the value of his stake in the firm rise more than 100 million pounds on Thursday to about 240 million pounds, according to Thomson Reuters data.

It took a mega deal with a USA grocer for Ocado to prove that it's no basket case.

"This is clearly a transformative deal for Ocado, and one that is on a completely different scale to those announced in the past", said Numis analyst Andrew Wade.

Exposed hedge funds included GMT Capital, Hunt Lane Capital and London-based Marshall Wace.

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