Tags: Online | Retailer | Wayfair | IPO

Online Retailer Wayfair Draws Buyers for IPO

Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 09:34 PM

Wayfair Inc., the online furniture and home-goods retailer that sells brands such as Joss & Main and Birch Lane, raised $319 million in its initial public offering, pricing the shares above the marketed range.

Wayfair and existing stockholders sold 11 million shares for $29 apiece, after offering them for $25 to $28 each, according to a statement Wednesday. At that price, Boston-based Wayfair is valued at $2.4 billion.

At $29, Wayfair is valued at a premium relative to its e-commerce peers, with a price-to-sales multiple of 2.6. Amazon.com Inc. trades at about 2 times last year’s sales, based on Wednesday’s closing price. Wayfair names Amazon, EBay Inc. and One Kings Lane Inc. as competitors in its prospectus.

Wayfair can ask for a higher valuation because its model requires less investment to grow, said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc.

“You will pay a huge multiple if the only thing they need to do to expand is get more people to put stuff up for sale,” said Los Angeles-based Pachter. “If Amazon wants to build its core business, it needs to build more distribution centers. The Amazon model is expensive and it’s hard to do.”

The company had 2.1 million active customers at the end of last year, up 61 percent from 2012, and relationships with more than 7,000 suppliers, according to the filing. While Wayfair posted $915.8 million in revenue in 2013 — a 52 percent jump from the year prior — it has yet to make a profit.

Niraj Shah

Niraj Shah co-founded Wayfair with Steven Conine, both serial entrepreneurs with bachelor’s degrees from Cornell University. The two started technology companies throughout the late ’90s and early 2000s. In 2002, they founded the company, initially run as a group of niche websites, from which they eventually created Wayfair.com. The company changed its name to Wayfair from CSN Stores LLC in 2011.

Wayfair last raised financing in March, when it garnered $157 million from an investor group led by T. Rowe Price Group Inc. The funding gave the company a valuation of $2 billion, a person familiar with the situation said at the time.

Since Sept. 19, when Wayfair started officially marketing its stock to investors, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 3.2 percent, while the technology-focused Nasdaq 100 Stock Index declined 2.8 percent.

However, Wayfair may not be affected by the broader market selloff because it’s a business model and industry that investors are excited about, according to Josef Schuster, founder of IPOX Schuster LLC.

‘Hot Area’

“The company specifically is in a hot area of the market: e-commerce and home furnishing,” Schuster, who’s based in Chicago, said before the pricing. “There is a lot of stock- specific interest for the deal, and given that it’s a unique space, I think the decline in the S&P will not impact the initial pricing.”

Wayfair has two classes of stock, whereby Class B shares, held by current insiders, are entitled to 10 votes per share, representing 98.5 percent of the voting power, the filing shows.

The company plans to use about $21 million of net proceeds toward a cash dividend for some of the co-founders, executive officers and current stockholders, according to the filing. The rest will be used for general corporate purposes and potential acquisitions.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. are managing the offering.

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Wayfair Inc., the online furniture and home-goods retailer that sells brands such as Joss & Main and Birch Lane, raised $319 million in its initial public offering, pricing the shares above the marketed range.
Online, Retailer, Wayfair, IPO
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2014-34-01
Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 09:34 PM
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