Even Barbie wears Birkenstock now
Previously, Birkenstocks were worn by German nurses for health reasons. Nowadays, the sandals are spread all over the globe. A particular model has recently gained popularity: the pink sandals with the large buckle. They appear in the hit movie "Barbie", and the actress Margot Robbie and her central protagonist wears them. The brand has evolved into a sought-after trend product.
The owners of the traditional German company from Linz am Rhein now seem to want to capitalize on this momentum at the right moment – by going public on Wall Street. The US financial investor L Catterton as the main owner and the French billionaire Bernard Arnault, who owns the LVMH luxury conglomerate, plan to file the IPO with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this week.
Growing ambitions in the US market
When a German company is brought to the US stock market, the usual explanation is that a higher valuation can be achieved there. This is partly because the US capital market has deeper pockets. Retirement savings are funded by capital investment, not through a pay-as-you-go system like in Germany. Additionally, other competitors are already listed in the US, which means that some analysts understand the companies by now, e.g. especially in biotechnology or vaccine production. German biotech companies like BioNTech, CureVac, and others had to go public in the USA to raise the capital needed for research and development.
However, for Birkenstock, the move to Wall Street appears surprising and likely has slightly different reasons. It's not primarily about valuation. Instead, Birkenstock and its owners have growing ambitions in the already significant US sales market, which is why they want to be listed in New York. Therefore, the appearance of the pink Birkenstock sandals in "Barbie" may not have been a coincidence after all.
Very good timing
In terms of timing, Birkenstock could hardly have chosen a better moment: In Germany, Schott Pharma took the first step towards an IPO with an "Intention to Float" last week. And the four planned tech IPOs in the US are even further along. The demand for the British chip designer Arm, which is part of the portfolio of the Japanese technology investor Softbank, is so high that the books are oversubscribed six times. The price range is now set to increase in order to achieve an even higher valuation than the previously targeted $52 billion.