A Record IPO Year Continues As The High-Profile Listings Keep Coming

Image Credit: iStock Images, Andrey Krav.

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The stack of S-1 forms piling up on SEC desks is getting rather tall…

Stock market listings have already hit a record pace this year, with deal numbers and proceeds hitting their highest levels in at least two decades. And the big-name IPOs in everything from food to footwear keep stacking up.

The Pipeline

As investors eagerly await public listings from Jessica Alba’s Honest Co, entertainment group Endeavor, and stock-trading app Robinhood, SEC offices are bracing for a slew of even more filings.

Allbirds All-In: The footwear brand that’s a fashion favorite among everyone from Silicon Valley professionals to Leo DiCaprio is interviewing banks in advance of its planned Wall Street debut.

  • Last valued at $1.7 billion, the company has raised more than $200 million since 2016 and touts its merino wool shoes as being produced with 60% less energy than rivals’ synthetic sneaks.
  • With a mission to “create better things in a better way,” Allbirds started out online-only, but has since opened up over 20 retail stores to expand its reach.

Panera’s Public Return: German conglomerate JAB has a hand in many staple snacks like Krispy Kreme and Snapple. The firm took fast-casual restaurant chain Panera private in a $7.5 billion deal in 2017. This month, JAB completed an $800 million refinancing deal for the chain, likely setting the stage for Panera’s triumphant return to public markets:

  • Last year, the restaurant added tech-enabled curbside delivery and started peddling groceries. 85% of Panera customers now order for carryout or delivery, vs. 40% pre-pandemic.
  • E-commerce sales now account for over half of the chain’s revenue, generating around $2 billion annually.

A Panera IPO is no guarantee. In 2018, JAB creatively skipped the traditional listing process for then-private Keurig Green Mountain, instead merging it with Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.

The Numbers

Proceeds from global IPOs in 2021 have hit a record $230 billion, already surpassing the full-year totals for 21 of the past 26 years.

  • High-profile debuts so far include Tiktok rival Kuaishou, which raised $6.2 billion in its Hong Kong listing, and Softbank’s e-commerce brand Coupang, which raised $4.6 billion.

Warning Sign? 875 IPOs have raised upwards of $1 million this year, easily eclipsing the 592 companies in that category in the final months of the 2000 dotcom boom – now referred to in hindsight as the dotcom bubble.