Shares in jeans retailer Levi Strauss soared more than 30 per cent as it returned to the stock market today, giving the company a market value of $8.7bn.
The denim brand, which has described itself as “the inventor of blue jeans”, started trading on the New York Stock Exchange this morning after it was taken private by the Haas family – the descendants of founder Levi Strass – 34 years ago. Shares opened at $22.22, above the listing price of $17 each.
Levi’s sold $623m worth of shares to institutional investors before going public, and the Haas family sold around $357m worth of shares but will retain 80 per cent voting control of the company.
The firm plans to use some of the proceeds to develop its presence in emerging markets, such as China, India and Brazil, and expand its product offering from a focus on men's jeans to more women’s products and tops.
Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG, said: “The initial public offering (IPO) of Levi’s has gone well, with an initial pop on the first day of trading.
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“But the structure of the shareholding, with the founders retaining overall control, is hardly an example of American capitalism at its best, and concerns about the weakness of growth in its core markets, which have lagged behind the broader clothing category, may limit the appeal of the stock beyond the initial excitement of the IPO.”