Everything Old is New Again As Levi’s Head Back to Public Trading

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Sometimes, everything old is new again. Levi's invented the blue jean in 1873. This week they headed back to public trading as the new kid on the block… As this article notes the company has faced a huge number of challenges from newer companies, 'younger' offerings and while many of them are gone the granddaddy of denim is still surviving, and now thriving.

Levi’s, Whose Jeans Are a Rugged Symbol of Americana, Prepares to Go Public
NYTimes, March 18, 2019

In San Francisco, where startups dream of populating the world with self-driving cars and robots, another breed of company is aiming for riches this week: Levi Strauss & Company.

The maker of denim and Dockers, which traces its roots to the California Gold Rush, Levi’s is expected to start trading on the public markets on Thursday for the second time in its 165-year history. The listing is a milestone for Levi’s, which has experienced a resurgence in the past decade, overhauling its image, operations and the stretch in its jeans to resonate with today’s shoppers who are increasingly disposed to athleisure wear.

Levi’s, some say, might even be cool again.

“It took them time but they’ve been able to restore a lot of brand equity,” said Marie Driscoll, a managing director who covers fashion and luxury at Coresight Research. “They have their authentic product that they’ve been making forever but adapted to what consumers want today.”

This week’s stock offering, which the company anticipates will raise more than $100 million, is an accomplishment for the chief executive, Charles V. Bergh, and highlights Levi’s ambitions to expand its apparel lines both in the United States and worldwide. Shares of the company are expected to sell for $14 to $16, which would value Levi’s between $5.4 billion and $6.2 billion.

Levi’s, which invented the blue jean in 1873, is woven into America’s history. Once the uniform of cowboys and miners in the American West, the company’s denim went on to be worn by Hollywood stars like Marlon Brando, concertgoers at Woodstock and the young nationwide. But the company hit a series of challenges starting in the 1990s beyond the usual fluctuations in consumer tastes. Read More

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