Shoemaker Birkenstock files for IPO in New York

Sound footing: Customers look at displays at a Birkenstock store in Paris. The owners of Birkenstock are planning an initial public offering that could value the German shoemaker at more than US$8bil. — AFP

NEW YORK: Birkenstock has filed for an initial public offering (IPO), in another sign of the allure US equity markets hold for European firms seeking a valuation uplift.

The German footwear maker, whose iconic sandals are worn by hippies and preppies alike, plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BIRK, according to a filing. The company will disclose the proposed terms of the share sale in a later filing.

The IPO could value Birkenstock at more than US$8bil, Bloomberg News reported previously.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase and Co and Morgan Stanley are leading the offering, which comes more than two years after private equity firm L. Catterton and the family investment company of billionaire Bernard Arnault acquired a majority stake in Birkenstock, valuing it at about €4bil.

The United States market for IPOs looks like it’s finally coming back to life after 18 months in the doldrums.

Birkenstock’s IPO filing comes hot on the heels of others from SoftBank Group Corp’s semiconductor designer Arm, grocery delivery firm Instacart Inc and marketing and data automation provider Klaviyo Inc.

Birkenstock has become a high-fashion brand, launching collaborations with luxury names such as Dior, Manolo Blahnik and Valentino, and spawning variants from labels including Celine and Givenchy. Its sandals have been sold in the United States since 1966.

A listing would cap off a successful run for the company, whose family heirs stepped back from management duties about a decade ago.

Since then, it has streamlined its strategy, launched high-profile collaborations and experienced explosive growth in demand.

The company saw revenue rise 29% to roughly €1.2bil last year, leading to adjusted earnings of €394mil. Sales have been boosted of late by the blockbuster Barbie movie, whose star Margot Robbie sports a pair of pink Birkenstocks in one scene.

Birkenstock has also been investing heavily in building out its production sites in Germany, including a new €120mil factory in Pasewalk, a town north of Berlin. — Bloomberg

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