Birkenstock has filed for an initial public offering, a sign of the appeal of U.S. stock markets to European companies looking to boost their valuation.
The German shoemaker, whose iconic sandals are worn by hippies and preppies alike, will remain under the control of private equity firm L Catterton, according to a Tuesday filing. The company will disclose the proposed terms of the stock sale in a subsequent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The IPO could value Birkenstock at more than $8 billion, Bloomberg News previously reported. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley are leading the offering, which comes more than two years after L Catterton and billionaire Bernard Arnault’s family investment company acquired a majority stake in Birkenstock, valuing it at around €4. billion ($4.3 billion).
It appears that the US IPO market is finally coming back to life after 18 months in the doldrums. Birkenstock’s IPO filing comes on the heels of others from SoftBank Group Corp.’s semiconductor designer Arm, grocery delivery company Instacart Inc. and marketing and data automation provider Klaviyo Inc.
Birkenstock was founded almost 250 years ago and developed a contoured insole for greater comfort. The modern cork-lined sandals became popular in the 1970s, when shoppers from the Southwestern US to Europe fell in love with the comfortable style. Birkenstock has since become a high-fashion brand, launching collaborations with luxury names like Dior, Manolo Blahnik and Valentino, and churning out variants from labels like Celine and Givenchy.
More than half – 54% – of the company’s customers are in the Americas, with Europe accounting for 36%, according to Tuesday’s filing. While women make up 72% of Birkenstock’s customers, the footwear has broad generational appeal, led by millennials with 31% of sales, followed by baby boomers with 30%, Gen X with 27% and Gen Z with 12%.
A stock market listing would cap a successful run for the company, whose family heirs retired from management duties about a decade ago. Since then, it has streamlined its strategy, launched high-profile collaborations and experienced explosive growth in demand.
“We consider ourselves the oldest startup in the world,” CEO Oliver Reichert said in a letter to investors included in the filing. “We are a brand built on a quarter-millennium family tradition, with the resilience, timeless relevance and credibility of a multi-generational company.”
Sales have increased recently due to the blockbuster Barbie film, in which star Margot Robbie wears a pair of pink Birkenstocks in one scene.
According to the filing, the company had a net profit of €40 million on revenue of €644 million for the six months ended March 31. This compares with €73 million on a turnover of €543 million in the same period a year ago.
Birkenstock has also invested heavily in building out its production sites in Germany, including a new €120 million factory in Pasewalk, a city north of Berlin.
The company, which is Birkenstock Holding Ltd. plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BIRK.