Levi Strauss Shares Jump on First Day of Trading

The company first went public in 1971 but was bought out by the Haas family in 1985 for $1.6 billion.
Lauren MuskettMarch 21, 2019

Levi Strauss & Co. shares jumped 31% on Thursday as the iconic denim clothing company returned to the public markets for the first time since 1985.

Shares priced at $17 Wednesday, above the expected range, and opened at above $22 per share. That gave the 165-year old company, which says it invented the blue jean, a market value of $8.7 billion.

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“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.

“That’s why now is a great time for Levi’s to capitalize on this momentum.”

Levi’s first went public in 1971, but was bought out by the Haas family in 1985 for $1.6 billion. The Hass family, who are descendants of the founder Levi Strauss, will keep an 80% voting stake in the company.

Levi’s reported its revenue was $5.6 billion in 2018, an increase of 14%, most of that coming from men’s denim.

The Americas market makes up 55% of its total revenue. China made up only 3% of its revenue in the last fiscal year, the company said, despite making up about 20% of the global apparel market.

Levi’s will raise $623 million in the offering.

The company said it wants to shift away from being only a jeans company and is planning to grow its tailor shop and print bar, which allows consumers to customize Levi’s jeans and t-shirts.

“We are focusing our product design and marketing efforts to reshape our global consumer perceptions from a U.S. men’s bottoms-oriented company to a global lifestyle leader for both men and women,” it said in a regulatory filing in February.

The New York Stock Exchange said its traders will “wear head-to-toe Levi’s denim” to commemorate the first day of trading. The exchange usually does not allow jeans on the trading floor.

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