Back in Fashion: Levi Strauss Joins Silicon Valley Decacorns in a Mega Year for IPOs

Levi Strauss will return to the stock market after three decades.

Levi Strauss will return to the stock market after three decades. Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Levis

Despite a rocky start in Washington, 2019 is set to be a busy and exciting year of multi-billion-dollar startup IPOs, led by Silicon Valley decacorns (companies valued at over $10 billion) such as Uber, Lyft and Pinterest. But the latest to join the IPO roster, unlike those teenage tech giants, is a true vintage Bay Area star: the good ol’ Levi Strauss.

The San Francisco-based denim maker, best known for inventing blue jeans over a century ago, said on Monday that it would list 36.7 million shares at a price between $14 and $16 per share on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “LEVI.”

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Through the IPO, Levi’s plans to raise $587 million, which will value the company at $6.17 billion, putting it in the same range of major department store chains such as Macy’s and Nordstrom.

The upcoming IPO will mark Levi’s return to the stock market after more than three decades at a time of rapid changes in consumer apparel taste—seemingly in a direction highly favorable to denim makers.

Last week, Levi’s two smaller rivals, American Eagle Outfitters and Abercrombie & Fitch, both reported strong fourth-quarter results, signaling an across-the-board rising demand for denim in the U.S.

Also riding a resurgence of the denim-obsessed ’90s style, Levi’s has seen significant growths in recent reporting periods. In 2018, its net revenue jumped 14 percent from the previous year to $5.6 billion, including a nine percent uptick in the fourth quarter alone.

In an SEC filing on Monday, Levi’s said funds raised from the IPO would be used to expand its brand portfolio to become a “global lifestyle leader for both men and women” with a near-term focus on tops and women’s clothing.

It also plans to open more stores in international markets, primarily China, India and Brazil.

Levi’s first went public in 1971, and was taken private in 1985 by the children of its namesake founder.

Back in Fashion: Levi Strauss Joins Silicon Valley Decacorns in a Mega Year for IPOs