Business

All you need to know about Levi Strauss’ IPO

by Angela Gonzalez-Rodriguez
11 Mar 2019

New York – The veteran jeans maker keeps advancing with its plans to return to the trading floor after more than three decades absent from the public markets. This is posed to one of the highest-profile initial public offerings (IPO) in the U.S. this year.

Levi Strauss filed the paperwork for an initial public offering in mid-February, getting everyone in the industry talking. It confirmed its IPO intentions later, with another filing to the SEC.

Levi’s IPO: why now? The analysts’ take

Levi's went public for the first time in 1971, but descendants of the founder took the company private again in 1985. Since then, the company has gone through different struggles, mainly caused by too quickly changing fashion trends and a highly competitive landscape.

So, why launching an IPO now? Research from The NPD Group shows that while apparel is growing 1 percent, the denim industry is growing 5 percent. In January, the CNBC talked to some market experts regarding this turn of tide for Levi Strauss. "I think that the outlook for jeans is positive," UBS analyst Jay Sole told CNBC. "Athleisure — performance apparel — that trend has changed a lot." Other fellow analysts pointed out how nostalgia and streetwear have brought back styles from the 1980s and 1990s, benefiting iconic brands such as Levi's.

"It is an opportune time [for a Levi's IPO] if there is a denim cycle coming back," Macquarie Capital analyst Laurent Vasilescu said in this regard.

All you need to know about Levi Strauss going puclic

Who?

Chief Executive Officer Chip Bergh has taken the company he took the reins of in 2011 comeback seriously. As a result, the jeans maker advanced on Monday it expects to go back to the trading floor later this year.

Twelve banks led by Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan will underwrite the IPO.

After the public offering, Levi's will have both Class A and Class B common stock. Class B shareholders will get 10 votes for every Class A vote.

What?

The iconic denim company plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker "LEVI."

The San Francisco based company said Monday that it will be offering around 9.5 million shares, while selling stockholders are offering another 27.2 million shares. The total 36.7 million shares offered by the fashion company will be priced between 14 and 16 dollars apiece, giving the issuing company a market value of about 6.17 billion dollars, at the higher end of the range as pointed out by ‘San Francisco Gate’.

Noteworthy, Levi's Japanese subsidiary is already publicly traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Why?

When first announced its intentions of going public, Levi's said that it plans to use the proceeds from going public for "general corporate purposes," including working capital, operating expenses and capital expenditures. According to the SEC filing, the company sees the opportunity to expand its presence in emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil. A portion of the proceeds could go to acquisitions or other strategic opportunities, but the company said that it has no current plans to do so.

Market sources add that the inventor of blue jeans – and one of the world's biggest denim brands - faces rapid changes in consumer tastes as people shop for cheaper brands and athleisure apparel.

How much?

The retailer expects to raise as much as 587 million dollars through its initial public offering. When it communicated its plans to the U.S. market regulator, Levi Strauss said it was planning to raise around 100 million dollars through the IPO, a placeholder amount used to calculate fees as explained by Bloomberg. Soon after this SEC filing was known of, the CNBC reported that the company was however aiming to raise between 600 million and 800 million dollars.

The underwriters will have a 30-day option to buy an additional 5.5 million shares from the company at the IPO price, minus underwriting discounts and commissions.

Picture: Growing with Purpouse, Levi Strauss Investor Relations.