If you've been tracking the stock market, you may have noticed a British online grocer showing off a big boost this week. Speculation that Ocado may be joining forces 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 British paper the 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. The company has now reportedly hired international consultancy agency Mace to advise it on its American debut, garnering investor’s trust that a deal will be penned soon.
So who will likely be Ocado's partner in a U.S. deal? Analysts have put Publix at the top of thier lists, a move that has excited shareholders. Publix, which owns 1,111 store locations, had previously partnered with U.S. app company Shipt to deliver groceries in South Florida, but the service has not always been successful in keeping up with demand, the 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, adding, "We expect to sign multiple deals in multiple territories in the medium term.”
Valued at $18 billion, Publix is one of the largest regional U.S. grocery chains, and currently serves Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama. Publix has yet to comment on these rumors.