My Food Bag says it is "investigating its options" for a potential sale of the business and sharemarket debut.
Kevin Bowler, chief executive of the Auckland-based meal kit company, said the company was gearing up for an initial public offering on the New Zealand Stock Exchange - but was unsure if this would be under its current ownership or through a new buyer.
My Food Bag is New Zealand's largest meal kit company and makes about $25 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization each year.
The Herald understands the company could be worth between $200m and $400m, depending on how much debt it has.
Bowler would not disclose to the Herald how much the company was on the market for, but said it had engaged the help of PwC to test market appetite.
My Food Bag has talked about listing on the NZX for about three years.
"We're open-minded as to how we proceed at this point in time and we've appointed PwC to guide us through a process, and IPO is certainly one of the options we're looking at," Bowler told the Herald.
My Food Bag is 70 per cent owned by private company investor Waterman Fund. Co-founders Cecilia and James Robinson and Theresa Gattung each hold an almost 11 per cent stake in the company, while Nadia Lim and her husband Carlos Bagrie hold a 5.4 per cent stake, among others.
Bowler said the business had grown to a point where it was ready for a transaction, and that an IPO would be the icing on the cake for the New Zealand-owned company, which was founded in 2012.
It was the first company of its kind to launch in the market and began sending out food boxes across Auckland before expanding throughout New Zealand.
"We remain pretty open-minded, our feeling is that we want to understand what the environment is for an IPO particularly, given the economy is in quite an interesting space," he said.
"It would a nice thing for such a great New Zealand success story to be open to public investment."
The company had enlisted the help of PwC a few months ago and had not received any serious offers for a takeover, but had been fielding interest.
PwC had been formally mandated by My Food Bag's owners and were signing potential buyers to confidentiality agreements this week, the AFR reports.
But Bowler said it was "a long way away from talking about offers". He said the business could still list on the stock exchange without a new owner.
"We've got to a point where we think the market might be ready for us and we think we are ready for the next step in our evolution."
My Food Bag would have made a decision on its pathway ahead before the end of the year, Bowler said.
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the first lockdown earlier this year sent the business into overdrive. It experienced an initial spike in orders in April, and in that time opened another Auckland boxing facility to keep with demand, but the growth of between 10-20 per cent had sustained, he said.
"Effectively what we thought would happen over two or three years has happened over a period of months.
"We've had a very strong year, partly because of an acceleration in trends towards more New Zealanders wanting to buy online ... we've also seen a lot of our projects in innovation within the business do really well so that's made a big difference."
Bowler, who is in his third year as chief executive of the company, said he hoped to continue running the business regardless of a possible sale.
"[In the past three years] there's been more competition come into the market and what that has done is expanded the market, initially slowed our growth, and we've seen growth accelerate again this year. We're pleased with the performance of the business in terms of topline, we've with got good control of our costs and we're seeing pleasing improvements in earnings."
Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craig's Investment Partners, said My Food Bag would attract a lot of interest in the market if it was to list on the stock exchange.
"It would attract a lot of interest in the market," Lister told the Herald.
"It's a household name in New Zealand, every one knows it, and I suspect it has quite attractive growth prospects and well positioned given the new Covid world that we're in.
"There's so much cash out there, interest rates at extremely low levels and going lower - there's no shortage of interest in good businesses if we bring them to market."
Lister said My Food Bag had luck on its side with favourable market conditions and it being one of those companies that had benefitted from the pandemic.
Retail analyst Chris Wilkinson said the meal kit space remained a profitable sector to be operating in despite it becoming a crowded market.
He agreed there would be strong appetite from retail investors if My Food Bag was to debut on the sharemarket. "This is a good time for a familar brand to hit the market given unprecedented demand by smaller investors given the fact there is nowhere else for them to park their money, and this will provide a spread for institutional investors as well.
"There is uncertainty ahead for all of the consumer sector so if there was a time to look at realising value, now would be a good time to do that."
Wilkinson said there would likely be more players that entered the meal kit market, including more options from the supermarkets, but he still believed there was future growth opportunities for My Food Bag, including through launching into new segments.