Levi's is getting ready to rejoin the stock market after 30 years

  • Levi Strauss & Co. will rejoin the stock market after more than 30 years.
  • Shares priced Wednesday evening at $US17 apiece, above the expected range of $US14 to $US16 – giving the jeans maker a market valuation of $US6.6 billion.
  • Levi’s listing comes during a boom in jeans sales.
  • The New York Stock Exchange is allowing traders to wear jeans for the day.

A good pair of jeans can last forever. Levi Strauss & Co., which is set to rejoin the stock market on Thursday at a valuation of $US6.6 billion, will hope investors see the same longevity in the Levi’s brand.

Shares priced Wednesday evening at $US17 apiece, above the predicted price range of $US14 to $US16, signalling strong investor interest. It raised $US623 million from the sale of 36.7 million shares. The founder’s family will take the bulk of the proceeds, with the remaining $US161 million earmarked for day-to-day costs and potential acquisitions.

The jeans maker listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “LEVI.” The trading floor’s ban on jeans has been relaxed for the day and traders are encouraged to wear Levi’s.

Levi’s was founded in 1853 and first joined the public markets in 1971. It was taken private by descendants of Strauss in a $US1.7 billion leveraged buyout in 1985.

The company claims to have created the first pair of blue jeans in 1873. Its products are now sold in more than 50,000 retail locations across more than 110 countries.

Levi’s net revenue grew 14% to $US5.6 billion in its last fiscal year. However, a sharp rise in selling, general, and administrative costs meant net income inched up just 0.2% to $US283 million.

The company will be looking to tap into a robust jeans market. Both American Eagle Outfitters and Abercrombie & Fitch highlighted strong sales of jeans in their fourth-quarter earnings calls.

“The jeans category returned to growth in 2018, after years of decline as a result of…the growing athleisure trend,” according to a report on the US jeans market from Euromonitor International. Consumers have returned to cheap and standard jeans as innovations in fit and fabric have boosted their appeal as casualwear, the report added.

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