Barbie-Buzzed Birkenstock to Find IPO Feet in September Deal

Investors looking to add some consumer labels to their portfolios deal could soon have a new shoe ticker to try on for size. 

Birkenstock is planning to go public as soon as September in a deal that could value the shoe brand at $8 billion, potentially becoming the most lucrative IPO of the year.

Details of the deal are pending as the private equity owners of the brand, L Catterton, have not publicly filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are reported to be the book runners for the deal, according to Bloomberg

In A Barbie World

The brand is riding high off a wave of sales in recent weeks triggered by its recent appearance in the “Barbie” movie

The deal's timing suggests Birkenstock's owners are capitalize on its moment in the cultural limelight and hope it pays off when its stock hits the markets. 

Birkenstock's cameo appearance may resonate strongest with female audiences responding to the film's messaging around contemporary womanhood. Birkenstocks appear in a decisive scene as Margot Robbie's Barbie character grapples with her flat feet. After mulling her options, the protagonist defies the pressure to wear high heels and champions the sandals instead, framing Birkenstocks as the antidote to society's unrealistic expectations.

Analysis from virtual fitting room company 3DLOOK, Google searches for “women's Birkenstocks” rose by over 518% in the UK after the film's release, and rose substantially in other geographies too.

Humble Origins

The classic German sandal maker journeyed far from its inception as a family artisanal boutique in 1774. Lauded for their orthopedic support, the sandal's appeal spread from the ranks of comfort enthusiasts to become an essential among trendsetters. The brand has made deep inroads into the fashion world with collaborations with Dior, Valentino, and other designers. Although the brand designs various models, it is the Birkenstocks' iconic Arizona sandal that encapsulates its image, with its broad double strap, cork sole, and plain coloring. 

The shoe's star has kept rising in since L Catterton took it over in 2021. Last year, Birkenstock's revenues rose almost 30% to around $1.3 billion, booking over $430 million in profits. Its Boston Clog model was luxury e-tailer Yoox's best-selling shoe for the year

In response to increasing demand, the shoemaker has been increasing production in Germany, with the addition of a new factory in Pasewalk, in the country's far north.

A strong debut from Birkenstock would be good news for a still frigid IPO market that has yet to fully shake off the chills of 2022's downturn. It may also give the go-ahead to other fashion listings that are rumored to be mulling a public offering, including Kim Kardashians' Skims brand and Chinese fast fashion label Shein.

Investors who see the legacy brand climbing to new heights will want to keep on their toes for updates on this potential mega-deal.