Levi Strauss goes public second time

Kenny Grant
March 24, 2019

Iconic jeans company Levi's made a hot return to Wall Street on Thursday as it eyes worldwide growth and more direct sales to consumers in the fast-changing retail environment.

Dressing down: Traders, many in jeans, work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on the day that Levi Strauss returned to the stock market. "We will run this business for the long-term". "That is pretty awesome".

Levi Strauss has said in its IPO documents filed with regulators it plans to use proceeds from its offering to invest further in its business, including potential acquisitions or strategic investments.

At the same time, Levi's has been expanding online and juggling between selling to low-end and high-end stores.

The market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2pc until 2023.

It wasn't long ago when Levi's was struggling with a big debt load and had grown too reliant on department stores.

1971: Levi Strauss becomes a public company.

Jeans pants are displayed at a Levi Strauss store in New York, US, March 19, 2019.

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The blue jeans icon initially expected to price its offering between $14 and $16 a share. By Thursday afternoon, the shares had hit a high of $23.15. Thursday morning's stock runup to around $22.20 a share pushed the company's market value to $8.7 billion.

The Haas family will retain 80% of voting control of the public company. "They have a really nice trajectory to sell as they're going public".

"The market is pretty ripe and we're the first big IPO of the year", he said.

But Levi's is also hoping to shift away from being seen as just a jeans company.

"There is a lot to like when it comes to Levi Strauss the brand and its outlook moving forward", said Jeff Zell, senior research analyst and partner at IPO Boutique.

"The company and the underwriters targeted a reasonable valuation to start and allowed the true investor demand to dictate price which ultimately came one dollar above range". Levi's men's business accounted for $4 billion of its $5.6 billion 2018 revenue, remaining the "key driver of its profits", according to the company.

The broader stock markets were all up less than 1 percent. To commemorate its first day of trading, Levi's hosted a tailor shop outside the stock exchange.

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