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GrubHub may be looking for a buyer - and this is the data behind the food delivery wars

2 weeks ago by Jon Marino in Consumer

Finally, some great news for GrubHub ($NYSE:GRUB). After a decline of nearly two-thirds of its value, a WSJ report surfaced Wednesday, January 8 saying that the food delivery app may consider a sale, and shares shot up 17% as market watchers began to wonder if GrubHub has hit a bottom. 

Job postings at GrubHub are down by a third from their 2019 peaks, according to our data. Thinknum Alternative Data has chronicled in the past, how many established companies and startups in the food delivery space have cut back on job postings as venture investors have become increasingly leery of unprofitable apps. Job postings - particularly a steep decline - have been signals of M&A in the past, but based on the WSJ's report it sounds pretty certain that GrubHub execs are strongly considering seeking out a deal. Still, the WSJ report makes clear - no sale is for certain. 

It is also up against a tough and growing fleet of competitors, not limited to Doordash ($DOORDASH), Postmates and UberEats. Doordash, in particular, has scaled up and successfully marketed itself to younger consumers, helping it separate itself from other relatively recent entrants to the market, like UberEats.

One promising piece of data comes from GrubHub's Apple ($NASDAQ:AAPL) Ratings Count. It reflects that over 2019, GrubHub saw ratings submitted grow a whopping 58%, a signal of continuing engagement with users, the author included. 

Finally, GrubHub's Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB) Talking About Count reflects a solid downtrend since pre-2017 peaks - however, there is a notable uptick in engagement recently that could suggest it's back on the map with some consumers. However, Facebook Likes (not pictured) have begun to decline slightly for GrubHub. 

Food delivery is rapidly evolving and analysts note that the space is packed with competitors eager to try and discount one another out of business - which may be a concern for Blue Apron ($NYSE:APRN), which has fought off struggling performance and a slew of competitors despite a fairly loyal user base. 

But, the one food delivery startup that's gaining momentum the most aggressively, isn't mentioned above - it's Colombian food delivery startup Rappi ($RAPPI), which is scaling up in places like Mexico City. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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