Warby Parker’s public debut puts it at a market value of $ 6.1 billion
In the second direct listing of the week, eyewear retailer Warby Parker Inc. opened trading at $ 54.05 a share and held steady, fluctuating just a dollar from that price.
The shares, which neither went above $ 54.72 nor fell below $ 52.96, closed 44 cents above the opening price on Wednesday in New York City, giving the company a market value of approximately $ 6.1 billion.
This was more than double the $ 24.53 at which shares changed hands in private trades in April, as detailed in documents filed by Warby Parker with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Considering stock options and similar holdings, the fully diluted value of the company is over $ 6.6 billion.
Before trading began, the New York Stock Exchange assigned a benchmark price of $ 40 to the shares. Unlike the sale price in an initial public offering, the benchmark price simply serves as a guide for investors and allows negotiations to begin.
Warby Parker’s debut follows data analytics firm Amplitude Inc., up 9.6% in its direct listing on Tuesday.
The two were the fifth and sixth major direct listings on the U.S. exchanges this year, following cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc. and online game maker Roblox Corp. As with previous direct quotes, Warby Parker did not issue new shares like he would. in a traditional IPO and its investors do not have to wait until the end of a lock-in period to sell shares.
Advocates of direct listings argue that the option is a better deal for startups and their investors than IPOs, which require an entry fee and come with expectations of a rise in the share price on the next day. first day.
Warby Parker counts Tiger Global Management, T. Rowe Price, General Catalyst, D1 Capital Partners and Durable Capital among its biggest investors, according to its documents.
The eyewear company got its start as a digital platform and expanded its offline footprint. It recorded a net loss of $ 7.3 million on revenue of $ 271 million in the first six months of the year, compared with a net loss of $ 10 million on revenue of $ 177 million in the during the same period in 2020.
While e-commerce accounted for just 8% of eyewear sales in the United States last year, the growing use of smartphones, tablets and computers is contributing to customer growth in the market, said Warby Parker. in its documents. Some 76% of adults in the United States now use some form of vision correction, according to statistics cited by the company.
The business has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic, in part thanks to virtual eye exams for prescription refills.
“We are very excited about telemedicine,” said Dave Gilboa, who is co-managing director with Neil Blumenthal. If there is a positive side to the pandemic, it is telemedicine that takes priority, Gilboa said in an interview.
Warby Parker is a public benefit corporation, which gives it a mandate to focus on more than maximizing returns for shareholders. In collaboration with non-profit organizations, she channels eyeglass donations to people in more than 50 countries.
Although banks do not underwrite stocks in a direct quote like they do in an IPO, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Allen & Co. have advised Warby Parker on its listing. The shares trade on the NYSE under the symbol WRBY.