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Birkenstock’s IPO could make it Wall Street’s new darling

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They were once something of a fashion faux pas, championed for their comfort as opposed to their style. But these days the Birkenstock is a sandal donned by Margot Robbie in the new Barbie movie, while the brand collaborates with some of the world’s largest fashion houses.

Now the German-based footwear company is reportedly eying an IPO, the second this year from private equity owners L Catterton.

Sources familiar with the matter said the IPO could happen as early as September with the company valued between $8 and $10 billion, according to Bloomberg and the Financial Times.

Birkenstock’s owner L Catterton is backed by French fashion behemoth LVMH—the brand which has made billionaire businessman Bernard Arnault the world’s second richest man.

The private equity firm is reportedly working with JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs on the listing, the sources added. Goldman Sachs declined to comment when approached by Fortune, JPMorgan Chase & Co did not immediately respond.

The sources added that no final decision on the size or the timing has been met, and L Catterton told Fortune it could not comment. Birkenstock also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Such deliberations come hot on the heels of another listing from L Catterton, which is no stranger to launching in an otherwise muted market.

Ernst and Young reported that for Q2 2023 global IPO volumes fell 5%, with proceeds down 36% year-on-year, but Conneticut-based L Catterton was undeterred. It backed online beauty products retailer Oddity Tech to raise more than $400 million when it listed on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange in July. 

Sudden interest

Birkenstocks have enjoyed renewed interest from consumers in recent years, as well as nods of approval from the wider fashion industry.

Luxury e-tailer Yoox reported that its best-selling shoe of 2022 was the Boston Clog from Birkenstock, while Google searches for the brand have more than quadrupled in the U.S. since January 2020.

On top of its regular sandal sales—which have been sold in the U.S. since 1966 and retail for approximately $90—the brand also collaborates with luxury shoe designers. Items have included velvet-covered clogs from Manolo Blahnik and double-buckled shoes from Dior.

Birkenstock had a further boost this year thanks to the blockbuster movie Barbie, with lead star and producer Robbie wearing a pair of the shoes in one scene.

The interest has all reportedly converted to success on the bottom line, a metric Wall Street will have a keen eye on this fall.

Birkenstock has been able to invest heavily in its production sites across Germany in the past couple of years, as well as pledging €120 million for a new factory in Pasewalk, a town approximately 84 miles north of Berlin.

As a private company, Birkenstock does not have to reveal its finances to the public, but told the Financial Times last year that in the year ending September 2019 it had seen an 11% increase in sales.

The sale of 23.8 million pairs of shoes in 2019 resulted in sales worth €721.5 million, with CEO Oliver Reichert adding the brand had been “sold out for ten years.”



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