Levi Strauss & Co. is ready to take the public market plunge again.
The company is preparing for another IPO, a source confirmed to WWD.
The timing makes sense for the denim brand, which is about to open a new flagship in Times Square and has been on a roll under the leadership of chief executive officer Chip Bergh.
Founded in 1853, the San Francisco-based company made its name selling rugged gear to gold prospectors and used that success to build an American icon — jeans. Levi’s went public in 1971, but the company was back firmly under the control of the Haas family after a 1996 leveraged buyout.
Shortly after the buyout, Levi’s went into a funk that persisted until Bergh joined in 2011.
Last month, Levi’s posted third-quarter results that marked its fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth with the women’s and the direct-to-consumer businesses both clicking along nicely. During the past two quarters, the company has sold a T-shirt every second.
The Levi’s rebound has been clear to see since the company, while privately held, has publicly traded debt and is compelled to report results to regulatory authorities.
An IPO would see the Haas family or company sell some of its stock into the public market, raising money and allowing the value of the stock to fluctuate more readily.
According to CNBC, which first reported the IPO effort, the offering could come in the first quarter, raising up to $800 million and value the firm at $5 billion.
When asked about the IPO, a company spokeswoman said “we do not comment on marketplace rumors or speculation.” Goldman Sachs, which is said to be working with Levi’s, declined to comment. And J.P. Morgan, which is also said be involved, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Bergh, a veteran of Procter & Gamble Co., would likely stick to his game plan, which centered on building the firm’s profitable core and expanding from there.
He’s already working to disrupt the company despite its recent success. In September, he consolidated product development and the supply chain under Liz O’Neill and put the digital and brick-and-mortar businesses under Marc Rosen.
That gives end-to-end supply chain control to one executive, while sales and presentation across channels to another.
“When you’re having a string of successes like we’ve been having now for almost two years, the biggest risk is complacency,” Bergh said. “And probably one of the best indicators of complacency is to try to protect the status quo. I wanted to use the opportunity of the momentum that we’ve had to make some structural changes.”