Shares of Etsy (ETSY - Get Report) finished up 21.3% to $13.73 in trading on Tuesday after investment firms TPG Group Holding Advisers and Dragoneer Investment Group reported an 8% stake in the homemade goods marketplace, according to SEC documents filed on Monday.
TPG disclosed a 4.3% stake in Etsy, while Dragoneer said it had a 3.7% stake in it.
The Brooklyn-based company went public in April 2015 with shares priced at $16 and closing their first day at $30. However, the company has struggled over the past two years and shares have fallen more than 50% since its IPO.
Earlier this month, activist hedge fund Black and White Capital, which owns about 2% of Etsy, called for the company to fix problems in their operations and governance, Reuters reported. The hedge fund said shares could reach $30 if operations were improved.
Black and White also urged Etsy to consider a sale in order to maximize shareholder value. On Monday, TPG commented on the request for a sale in the SEC filing by saying it "has contacted representatives of Etsy to offer to engage in discussions regarding strategic alternatives."
Shares of Etsy initially jumped 8% in after-hours trading on Monday after the stakes were revealed. In response, new Etsy CEO Josh Silverman released a statement saying, "We are now reviewing our strategic and operational plans to ensure Etsy is focused on the most value-enhancing near-and long-term opportunities." Silverman took the CEO position just two weeks ago after CEO Chad Dickerson stepped down after nine years at the helm. In addition, CFO Kristina Salen left the company at the end of March.
While TPG may be serious about a sale of the company, it's unclear how open Silverman is to the option, Wedbush Securities analyst on Etsy Aaron Turner said. "Etsy thinks they can reaccelerate on their own," he said. Turner said he doesn't think Etsy was considering selling itself before Black and White and other activists started calling for it.
The most natural buyers of Etsy would be competitors Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) or eBay (EBAY - Get Report) , but neither buyer is likely because all three companies have the same buyers and sellers of goods, Turner said. The sale price would need to be a premium but it could be capped based on the company's disappointing performance, he added.
Earlier this month, Etsy reported a net loss of $421,000 for the 2017 first quarter. In addition, the company is laying off 80 people, or about 8% of its workforce.
The company has struggled since its IPO as growth on the platform has decelerated, Turner noted. That's partly due to big-name competitors such as Amazon and Facebook (FB - Get Report) offering competing marketplaces for creative types to sell their goods. To help it stay in the game, Etsy purchased machine-learning company Blackbird Technology this past September to provide more relevant searches and recommendations on its site.
At the time of the deal, TheStreet's Jim Cramer said it was a smart move during a segment on his "Mad Money" show. "This kind of technology is so essential, especially if you have to go toe-to-toe with Amazon," he explained.