‘Shark Tank’ Company ‘Plated’ Gets Huge Buyout After Surprising Change In Shark Investors

In Season 9 of Shark Tank, Mark Cuban may take Kevin O’Leary’s center seat on the panel at least once, but if a recent deal of O’Leary’s is any indication, Mr. Wonderful still sometimes gets the last laugh in the competitive world of television venture capital.

Yesterday, Tech Crunch reported that grocery chain Albertsons acquired Plated, the meal kit delivery service that appeared on both Shark Tank and Beyond the Tank. According to O’Leary’s Facebook post, it’s the largest exit for a Shark Tank company. While Plated’s co-founders, Josh Hix and Nick Taranto, did not reveal the size of the deal, O’Leary said on CNBC it was worth $300 million and he himself made a return on his investment of 1346 percent.

Kevin O’Leary invested in Plated after the company’s ‘Shark Tank’ deal with Mark Cuban fell through. [Image by Mark Davis/Getty Images]

But Shark Tank fans may remember it was not O’Leary, but Cuban, that originally agreed to invest in Plated when the entrepreneurs came into the studio. At the time, according to Inc., Cuban agreed to invest $500,000 for 6 percent of the company. But the deal never closed. During a profile of Plated on Beyond the Tank, Cuban revealed the company founders wanted to renegotiate after the taping, due to the startup’s rising value. Cuban refused to renegotiate.

A few months later, however, the men from Plated ran into Kevin O’Leary and in a fantastical twist of fate ended up closing the deal with Mr. Wonderful instead. The Beyond the Tank episode that documented the change in investor and the company’s glitches in execution — they had a refrigerated food container stolen, for example, costing them $100,000 — aired in the spring of 2015. At the time, Plated was not profitable, but planned to be within the following year.

According to CNBC, the partnership between Albertsons and Plated could increase pressure on rival meal kit delivery companies like Blue Apron, currently publicly traded, and HelloFresh, to seek out a partnership with a brick-and-mortar grocery chain instead of relying on e-commerce alone. In the CNBC article, O’Leary mentioned the recent Amazon purchase of Whole Foods as an example of tech companies getting into the food space.

Mark Cuban says he pulled out of the deal with Plated because the company tried to change the terms of the investment after the ‘Shark Tank’ taping. [Image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images]

As for the founders of Plated, they won’t be leaving the company anytime soon. Tech Crunch reported that Hix will remain as Plated CEO. The pair, who met doing relief work in Haiti, told CNBC they expected to use some of the proceeds of the sale of Plated to fund relief efforts after natural disasters in the U.S. and abroad.

Season 9 of Shark Tank debuts on Sunday, October 1, on ABC.

[Featured Image by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images]

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