Jeans maker Levi Strauss files for IPO to return to public markets




FILE PHOTO: The label of a Levi
FILE PHOTO: The label of a Levi's denim jacket of U.  

(Reuters) - Levi Strauss & Co filed documents on Wednesday to list itself on the New York Stock Exchange, seeking to return to public markets after more than three decades.

Levi's, one of the world's biggest denim brands and the inventor of blue jeans, faces rapid changes in consumer tastes as people shop for cheaper store brands and look for more comfortable clothing like jogging pants.

Last year, rival VF Corp said it would spin off its less profitable Wrangler and Lee jeans business into a publicly traded company, allowing it to focus on Vans and its outdoor wear businesses to help improve profit margins.

The 145-year-old company, which intends to list as "LEVI", set a placeholder amount of $100 million to indicate the size of the IPO. The final size of the IPO could be different.

The company could be valued at around $5 billion when it debuts, a CNBC report said in November.

The privately held company is controlled by the descendents of founder Levi Strauss. It is required to post quarterly earnings with U.S. regulators as it its Japanese arm, Levi Strauss K.K, is publicly traded in Tokyo.

In its latest report, the company said sales rose nearly 9 percent to $1.59 billion. Its filings also show that it has halved its debt load over the last two years.

Levi Strauss sells in products in over 50,000 retail locations, including about 3,000 standalone stores and shops-in-shops across 110 countries. It sells apparel under the Levi's, Dockers and Denizen brands.

With the IPO filing, the company joins a list of high-profile companies seeking to go public this year including Uber Technologies, Lyft, Pinterest and Airbnb.

Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, BofA Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley are part of a 12-member underwriting team handling the IPO.


(Reporting by Aparajita Saxena, Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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