Blog: Leonie BarrieLevi Strauss mulling IPO?

Leonie Barrie | 14 December 2007

The appointment of the first non-family member to the top job at jeans maker Levi Strauss is a landmark event, and not surprisingly is being seen as a strong hint that the 155-year-old firm is poised for even bigger changes – such as a public stock offering. The company went public in 1971, but was taken private again in 1985 shortly after Robert Haas became CEO. But in February, Haas is handing over the reins at the private, family-held San Francisco to ice cream magnate T Gary Rogers who has also been a Levi's director since 1998.

Rogers says an IPO “is something that we are evaluating, but we have not made any decisions.” But the rumours have persisted for a while, and the current upsurge in profits – preceded by years of cost-cutting, layoffs, and improved product lines – is thought to have prompted Levi’s board to consider selling shares to the public again.

Levi's profits have been steadily rising during the past two years, with third quarter profit (reported in October) up 24% to $61m, helped by strong sales in Europe and Asia.

US: Levi's elects ice cream magnate as chairman


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