The RealReal Inc. is all about pricing things — finding that gem of a look in someone’s closet, determining its value and then efficiently using it platform to connect with a buyer.
Now, the company has priced itself for an initial public offering and come up with a big number — $1.5 billion.
That’s at the midprice of the offering, which is expected to be priced at $17 to $19 a share, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday.
Investors have grown suddenly keen on fashion, welcoming Farfetch, Levi Strauss & Co. and Revolve to the markets.
If The RealReal gets it’s price of $1.5 billion, it would start out with an enterprise value of 7.2-times its annual revenues of $207.4 million. (The quickly growing firm, which is carrying $8 million in debt, has been operating at a loss with red ink of $84.7 million last year).
By comparison, Revolve, with an enterprise value of $2.9 billion, is trading at 5.5-times Revenues. The RealReal would also get a better valuation on the sales of used luxury looks than some of the original producers. Gucci-parent Kerning trades at an enterprise value-to-revenue-multiple of 4.6-times while LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton sits at 4-times.
The measuring stick is different for The RealReal as it takes goods on consignment as opposed to producing its own looks or buying the inventory. The gross merchandise value on the sales it facilitated last year tallied $710.8 million.
Its business model is, in some ways, more akin to Farfetch, which serves a platform connecting buyers with luxury brands and is trading at an enterprise value to revenue multiple of 9.1-times. (Farfetch also loses money, with a deficit of $214.1 million over the past four quarters).
The RealReal still has a chance to catch up with Farfetch’s multiple. It’s valuation would climb much higher if The RealReal gets the red carpet on Wall Street that was enjoyed by Revolve, which shot up 89 percent in its first day of trading early this month.
Investors are always looking for growth stories from fresh faces and The RealReal certainly qualifies, with sales up 55 percent last year and an average order value rising 2 percent to $446 when compared with 2017.
The company is selling 15 million of its 82.7 million shares in the offering and expects proceeds of $245.8 million to go to general corporate purposes.
“The principal purposes of this offering are to create a public market for our common stock, facilitate access to the public equity markets, increase our visibility in the marketplace and obtain additional capital to support further growth in our business,” the company said in its filing.
Now the company has to go out and court large investors during a road show, setting up the first wave of buyers before the average investor gets their chance to jump in.
Founder and chief executive officer Julie Wainwright is going to hold on to her 6.1 million shares of the company, which would be valued at a total of $109.8 million at $18 each.
Once the offering goes through, Wainwright and the firm will be under the microscope of the public market, which loves growth, yes, but eventually will want to see some profitability.
Jeff Bezos famously held Wall Street at bay for years, serving up growth and promising that profits would come. And while that particularly waiting game was rewarded — Amazon posted income of over $12 billion over the past year — not everybody can get the Bezos treatment.
Wainwright is going for the same play, though.
“There is substantial opportunity for growth in our business and our market and intend to invest aggressively to capitalize on this opportunity,” the company said in its registration statement. “As a result of these investments, we expect to incur additional losses for the foreseeable future. In particular, we are making significant investments in our marketing initiatives, expanding our operations and infrastructure, developing and introducing new technologies and automation and hiring additional personnel. These efforts may be more costly than we expect and may not result in revenue growth.”