Online pet-food retailer Chewy.com files to go public

  • Online retailer pet food retailer Chewy.com filed to go public on Monday, April 29.
  • The Florida-based company was acquired by PetSmart in 2017 for $US3.3 billion.
  • Chewy will be the latest tech “unicorn” to IPO after Lyft and Pinterest.
  • Read about Chewy.com at Markets Insider.

Online pet food retailer Chewy.com filed its S-1 IPO registration document with the SEC Monday in its bid to become the latest tech unicorn to hit the public markets.

Chewy.com is just the latest “unicorn,” or private company worth more than $US1 billion, to take steps to go public in what is expected to be a particularly active year for IPOs. TradeWeb, Lyft and Pinterest have IPO’d so far, with each raising over $US1 billion in fresh capital while allowing for existing investors to exit.

Chewy.com was acquired for $US3.3 billion by private equity-owned PetSmart in 2017 as the brick-and-mortar retailer struggled to develop an online strategy. Somewhat controversially, PetSmart then spun-off control of Chewy.com to a separate entity raising the ire of bondholders.

While pricing for the IPO has not been set, Chewy.com looks sure to attract a multi-billion dollar valuation. The valuation may be as high as $US4.75 billion according to CNBC, which cited a report from S&P Global Ratings.

IPOs have had a mixed record so far this year. Pinterest is up more than 70% from its IPO price of $US19 while Lyft is down significantly, falling 18% from its IPO price of $US72. Lyft-rival Uber is set to go public as early as May with a potential valuation of as much as $US90 billion.

Chewy.com, which will trade under ticker CHWY, has also reported significant losses. The company reported a net loss of $US268 million in 2018 on sales of $US3.5 billion. The IPO will be underwritten by investment banks Allen & Company, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley.

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