The IPO Buzz: Short Week’s Lone Deal and Big Dreams

and Jan Paschal:

Just one deal is on tap this week. But investors are dreaming of a robust IPO Calendar anticipated in March. Big names like Levi Strauss, which filed last week, and Uber, which did a confidential filing late last year, are driving the interest in IPOs to come.

Acamar Partners Acquisition (ACAMU proposed) is the only name on this week’s IPO Calendar. It’s a newly organized blank check company focused on the luxe life – specifically, acquiring and running companies in the travel, fashion, luxury goods and related businesses. (More details on this deal in a moment.)

Wall Street is facing a four-day work week, with the U.S. stock market closed on Monday for the Presidents’ Day holiday.  A short week, though, does not mean that IPO bankers are taking it easy. There’s always plenty going on beneath the surface.

The federal government’s aversion of a second shutdown last week was a positive sign for the IPO market. This could set the stage for a healthy IPO Calendar in March, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s staff working to review filings that were caught in the backlog during the 35-day partial shutdown.

Good Jeans

Levi Strauss lit up the financial headlines last week with its filing to go public – again. The iconic company was founded in San Francisco in 1853.

“We invented the blue jean 20 years later,” the company says in the prospectus.

Levi Strauss, named after its founder, was a privately held company until 1971. It went public that year. In 1985, Levi Straus went back to private ownership through a leveraged buyout.

Levi Strauss (LEVI proposed) hopes to raise more than $600 million in the IPO, The Wall Street Journal reported, noting that the company plans to use some of the IPO proceeds to fund acquisitions.  No terms were listed in the company’s S-1 filing with the SEC on Wednesday, Feb. 13th, other than the boilerplate estimated value of $100 million.

This Week’s Solo Act

Let’s take a look at this week’s solo deal, set for pricing Thursday night to trade on Friday morning.

Acamar Partners Acquisition (ACAMU proposed), based in Miami, is a blank check or special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) organized in 2018. Acamar Partners plans to offer 30 million units at $10 each to raise $300 million. The deal is scheduled for pricing Thursday night, Feb. 21st, to start trading on the NASDAQ on Friday morning, the 22nd.

From the prospectus: “We will seek to capitalize on the substantial deal sourcing, investing and operating expertise of our management team to select, acquire and help operate high growth potential businesses in North America or Western Europe, with a focus on the consumer and retail sectors, including but not limited to businesses operating in travel retail, food and beverage, luxury goods, fashion, lifestyle and leisure products and services, and consumer branded products, although we may pursue acquisition opportunities in other regions or sectors.”

Juan Carlos Torres Carretero, chairman of Acamar Partners, is the executive chairman of Dufry AG, the world’s largest travel retailer (duty-free shops), the prospectus says. He is also on the board of Moncler S.p.A., the Italian luxury brand known for its down parkas and puffer jackets.

 (For more information on this company and other IPOs, please check the company profiles on’s website.)

Uber Excitement

IPO investors, like rock fans flicking their Bics as they wait for the headliner to strut out on stage, are anxiously awaiting word on when Uber will go public. They may have to wait a little longer, judging from a story on Feb. 11th by Bloomberg, which cited people familiar with the matter in its report that the SEC has asked ride-hailing behemoth Uber Technologies Inc. and its smaller rival Lyft Inc. to file new documents for review.

Uber also dominated headlines last Friday, Feb. 15th, after it said that it lost $1.8 billion in 2018, according to reports on CNN, in The New York Times and elsewhere. Investors’ eyes naturally go to any news about Uber – not just because of the intense interest in its IPO – but also because it is seen as the bellwether for a flurry of unicorn IPOs, ranging from Lyft to Slack, Airbnb, Postmates and others down the road.

Week of Feb. 25th

February’s final week has only one small-cap IPO on the calendar – Super League Gaming (SLGG proposed), a cloud-based platform to connect online gamers. But that could change. Anything can happen when the SEC’s filing window opens again for business on Tuesday morning, Feb. 19th.

Stay tuned.


Disclosure: Neither the author nor anyone else on the staff has a position in any stocks mentioned, nor do we trade or invest in IPOs. The author and staff do not issue advice, recommendations or opinion.