GOING PUBLIC

Skullcandy Joins the IPO Party

Skullcandy, the Utah-based audio product maker run by Rick Alden, looks to tap public market in order to wipe out its debt.

Gross.jessica/Wikimedia Commons

Rick Alden, founder and CEO of Skullcandy

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This should certainly be music to the ears of IPO watchers:

Just a day after professional social network site LinkedIn submitted its paperwork for a public offering, headphone maker Skullcandy filed its S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public.

With the economic recovery on firmer ground, the IPO market has once again opened up. Earlier this week, IPOs from online publisher Demand Media and consumer information provider Nielsen were both well received by investors, pricing above their expected ranges. There's also the ongoing buzz about Groupon and Facebook joining the pipeline in the not-too-distant future.

As a three time Inc. 500 company, we've been privy to parts of Skullcandy's financials for some time, but the new filing gives us a much more detailed look. (If you notice a difference between the revenues reported by Inc. and those in the S-1, we list gross sales, while the filing shows net.)

Of particular note is the increased revenue between 2008 and 2009 (up 47 percent), but the steep decline in profitability (net income fell 73 percent over the same period). The main culprit in the drop off is a pretty hefty interest expense item associated with $25 million in debt the company issued in February 2009, which bears an 11 percent interest rate. Skullcandy has reduced that amount outstanding to $7.3 million, but issued another $16.5 million in debt at the end of last year. Not surprisingly, part of the proceeds from the public offering will be used to pay off this debt. No word yet on the size of the offering, though the company spelled out another $20 million in items it needs to pay down. Anything raised in excess of those expenses will go to working capital and general corporate purposes.

Located in Park City, Utah, Skullcandy was founded by Rick Alden in 2003, targeting its products exclusively to skateboarders and snowboarders. Though the products have since gone mainstream (Target and Best Buy each accounted for more than 10 percent of Skullcandy's net sales in 2009, according to the S-1), the focus remains on the alternative sports market.

'Our core has expanded from skateboard and snowboard shops to include stores that sell sneakers, bikes, vinyl records, and electric guitars,' Alden told Inc. in 2008. 'Those account for only 10 percent of our revenue, but it's the most important 10 percent, and we have to protect it. So we sponsor boarders, surfers, and BMX bikers. One hundred percent of our marketing efforts focus on that segment.'

Last updated: Jan 28, 2011




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