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Birkenstock finally tops IPO price while other entrants struggle

A Birkenstock store in Venice, California.
A Birkenstock store in Venice, California. (Photographer: Ethan Swope/Getty)

By Bailey Lipschultz

(Bloomberg) — A rally across equity markets lifted Birkenstock Holding Plc and other newly public firms, but Wall Street still isn’t welcoming initial public offerings with open arms.

The maker of cork-soled sandals closed above its IPO price for the first time last week after a disappointing debut in October, while Klaviyo Inc. popped back above its initial share price when it listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Still, the 25 companies that raised more than $250 million each via US IPOs this year have climbed an average of 9.2%. That’s against a backdrop where the S&P 500 has climbed 19% this year and the small-cap benchmark Russell 2000 Index has netted a 6.4% gain.

The S&P 500 has advanced 11% since Oct. 27 after logging one of its best November rallies in a century, as optimism around a peak in interest rates drew investors into assets ranging from large technology company shares to Bitcoin. The so-called everything rally bolstered three of the recent blockbuster IPOs — Arm Holdings Plc, Birkenstock, and Klaviyo — to increase at least 13% each, though Arm and Klaviyo aren’t near their initial highs, while Instacart has flailed.

Bloomberg

With the three stocks mostly catching a bid as the Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, is about a week removed from the lowest since January 2020, would-be public companies are refreshing filings with a keen eye on debuting next year. Whether normality returns will depend on how deals are priced and if companies and their backers will accept raising money at more modest valuations than they were tagged for at the market’s peak.

“It’ll be on the issuers and their sponsors to meet investors where they are for the IPO market to return to normalcy,” said Steve Maletzky, head of equity capital markets at William Blair & Co. “The demand for IPOs is there, it’s just not at prices that issuers are ready to sell at.”

For those looking to put cash to work in new companies next year, there’s a growing list of potential targets. Lineage Logistics LLC, a cold-storage company, social media firm Reddit, Singapore-based e-commerce giant Shein as well as Kim Kardashian’s Skims and Microsoft-backed cloud and data security startup Rubrik are among the high-profile class of 2024 IPO candidates.

Others in the venture capital world are taking a wait-and-see approach with the Renaissance IPO ETF still down more than 50% from a 2021 high and the majority of blockbuster IPOs from the bull market — think Bumble Inc. and Robinhood Markets Inc. — sharply lower.

Though Klaviyo and fellow recent debutant Cava Group Inc. are above their IPO prices, “I’m not sure that will create a new flood of IPO interest,” said Arjun Kapur, founder of Forecast Labs, a venture group within Comcast Corp.

“There are some good indications, but is that good enough to create momentum?”

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.