Birkenstock IPO: German sandal maker heads for Wall Street in another blow to Europe

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German shoemaker Birkenstock has filed for an initial public offering in New York, becoming the latest European company to choose the United States as the place to raise money on the stock market.

The iconic footwear brand said in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday that it planned to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “BIRK.” It didn’t disclose its target share price or the proposed date of the listing.

The Financial Times, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, reported Tuesday that Birkenstock was seeking a valuation of more than $8 billion.

In its filing, the company said revenue in the six months to the end of March had risen 19% from the same period in the 2021-22 financial year but that its net profit had fallen 45%. Birkenstock said inflationary pressures had pushed up the cost of labor and materials.

The family business traces its origins back to 1774 when church archives mention Johannes Birkenstock, who worked as a cobbler in Langen-Bergheim, Germany.

In 2021, the Birkenstock family sold most of the company to L Catterton, a private equity firm backed by LVMH — the owner of luxury brands such as Tiffany & Co. and Dior, with brothers Christian and Alex Birkenstock retaining a minority stake.

The planned IPO marks another milestone for the shoemaker, which joins the ranks of high-profile European companies seeking a public offering across the pond rather than at home. British chip designer Arm is gearing up for a blockbuster IPO on the Nasdaq this week.

The listings come after an 18-month slump in the IPO market. As the world’s major central banks have jacked up interest rates to combat inflation, the appetite among investors for riskier assets has waned. US grocery delivery firm Instacart has also revealed plans to list on the Nasdaq in the near future, albeit at a significant discount to recent valuations.

“It’s safe to say the US is leading the [IPO] revival at this stage, and other financial centers, most notably London, have a lot of work to do to compete better going forward,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, told CNN.

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, added in a note Wednesday: “Birkenstock’s step shows that the IPO engine is whirring back to life after an 18-month downturn. Hopes that the end of the interest rate hiking cycle is in sight [are] also driving more confidence.”


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