The maker of the iconic blue jeans is ready to go public--again

Levi Strauss & Company, which was founded in 1853, will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday for the second time in its 165-year-old history, The New York Times reports. The San Francisco-based company hopes to raise more than $100 million in its initial public offering to continue its focus on direct sales and product innovation. 

Its shares will trade under the ticker "LEVI" and are expected to sell between $14 and $16, valuing Levi's somewhere between $5.4 billion and $6.2 billion, according to the report. The move follows a years'-long mission to rejuvenate a brand whose staple product was created during the California Gold Rush.

In 2011, the company appointed Charles V. Bergh to the CEO role. Under his leadership, Levi's created an innovation center in San Francisco, the Eureka Lab, where the company reinvented its method for creating distressed jeans. Now, instead of treating denim by hand, employees use iPads and lasers to fashion worn-out patterns in brand new fabric. The company also revamped its sales strategy to sell directly to consumers online. In 2018, direct sales made up 35 percent of the company's $5.6 billion in revenue. 

German immigrant Levi Strauss founded Levi's in the 19th century. Since he had no children of his own, his nephews took over the company after his death in 1902. It has been a family-owned business ever since. The company first filed to go public in the 1970s, but the descendants of Strauss, the Haas family, decided it was best to take it private in 1985. After the IPO on Thursday, the Haas family will control roughly 80 percent of the voting shares.

Published on: Mar 19, 2019