- Levi Strauss had its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange on March 21.
- It was a return to the public markets for the clothing company, which had previously been listed on NYSE from 1971 to 1985.
- Levi’s IPO also marked a special occasion for NYSE, as the world’s largest stock exchange relaxed its trading floor dress code to allow traders to don Levi’s jeans and jackets.
Levi Strauss’s IPO on NYSE on March 21 might go down as the most memorable of the bunch thanks to a change in dress code the event led to.
For one day, NYSE relaxed its no-blue-jeans policy for the IPO. As a result, nearly everyone on the historic trading floor was donning Levi’s jackets and jeans.
While NYSE had previously made some exceptions to the dress code for other listed companies, all agreed they’d never seen that much denim on the trading floor.
Here are some photos from the historic day.
Levi Strauss had its IPO at the New York Stock Exchange in lower Manhattan on March 21. The American clothing company filed to go public in February.
Levi’s had previously been listed on NYSE from 1971 until 1985, when the company went private again.
The IPO event was unique as blue jeans are banned from NYSE’s trading floor. Over the years, NYSE has made some exceptions to the rule, particularly during tech company IPOs.
However, Levi’s IPO marked the first time nearly the entire trading floor was dressed in denim. Floor traders and NYSE employees were sized beforehand for Levi’s jeans and jackets.
Even NYSE president Stacey Cunningham (pictured left) donned jeans and a denim jacket.
Floor traders at GTS, the designated market maker that handled the opening of the stock, got personalised jackets marking the event.
Levi’s initial offering price, which is set the night before listing and based on investor interest during the company’s “roadshow”, was $US17.
At 9:30 a.m., Levi’s chief financial officer (left), Harmit Singh, and CEO (right), Chip Bergh, opened trading on the public markets by ringing the bell for 10-straight seconds.
After the opening bell, Levi’s management team made its way down to GTS’s booth as the DMM worked with Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, the co-lead on the IPO, to find the price at which the stock should open at.
For more than an hour, GTS fielded buy and sell orders from traders, narrowing the price range as it evaluates what the opening price of the stock should be.
The process took over an hour and a half, which was slightly longer than average. Carolyn Saacke, NYSE’s COO of capital markets, said Goldman Sachs typically takes a bit longer with its IPOs as it prefers to speak to all its clients about the deal right up until opening the stock. She added that Levi’s, like many larger consumer and tech deals, also garnered a lot of interest from Main Street investors.
As Levi’s price range tightened, a large group of traders crowded GTS’s booth in preparation of the opening of the stock.
At 11:06 a.m. GTS opened Levi’s stock for trading at $US22.22 a share as Singh once again rang the bell to mark the official opening of the stock.
Some in attendance had their jackets signed by members of Levi’s management team to mark the event.
Levi’s stock closed at $US22.41 at the end of the day, nearly a 32% increase from its $US17 initial offering price. According to FactSet, that put Levi’s market value at $US8.64 billion.
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