(Photo by Flickr user University of Delaware Alumni Relations, used under a Creative Commons license)
Is Under Armour planning to slim down in the digital fitness arena?
According to a report published Tuesday by The Information citing two sources, the Baltimore-headquartered apparel company is planning to sell diet and exercise-tracking app MyFitnessPal and is actively seeking a buyer. A spokesperson said that, per company policy, UA does not comment on “speculation or market rumors.”
— The Information (@theinformation) July 7, 2020
Tide Point-based Under Armour made a big bet on digital fitness beginning with the acquisition of MapMyFitness in 2013, followed by two more in 2015. MyFitnessPal was the priciest buy of the $710 million spend, with a $475 million deal announced in February 2015.
The acquisitions helped give the company an immediate base of users, and company leaders talked about how the apps formed a connected fitness platform that linked apparel and wearables, as well as provided data and insights on how to make it actionable.
Since then, the company has faced a downturn in earnings as a result of contracting sales that led to restructuring and layoffs. The cofounders of MyFitnessPal, including former chief digital officer Michael Lee, left the company at the beginning of 2018. Paul Fipps, who is now chief experience officer, took over the role overseeing digital strategy and software. MyFitnessPal then faced a massive data breach that affected 150 million users.
Founder Kevin Plank, who touted the digital strategy at big headline events like SXSW with declarations that “data is the new oil,” also stepped down from his longtime role as CEO at the end of 2019, as Patrik Frisk took on the day-to-day role of running the company. The COVID-19 pandemic brought further challenges as the company had to close retail stores and furlough workers amid social distancing restrictions, but is now gradually reopening.
The talk about MyFitnessPal comes about a week after the company terminated apparel deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars with UCLA and Cal.
Amid the downturn, we’ve heard from many companies returning to their core business. Taken together, the series of moves suggest Under Armour is pursuing at least a version of that strategy.
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