By Chris Morris
March 21, 2019

Levi Strauss & Co.’s return to the stock market today after a 34-year hiatus is momentous enough for the New York Stock Exchange to relax its dress code.

Blue jeans, traditonally, are not permitted on the trading floor of the stock market. There’s even a sign warning traders as they enter the fray. But for one day only, it’s casual Thursday on Wall Street so you can wear jeans.

The NYSE made the announcement late Wednesday on Twitter: “Tomorrow we’ll be in our 501s.”

Levi Strauss priced its offering at $17 per share, higher than the expected range of $14 to $16. That will raise $623 million for the company, which has plans to expand its market.

It’s the second go-round for Levi’s on Wall Street. It originally went public in 1971, before going private in 1985. It will trade under the symbol LEVI.

Just a few years ago Levi’s future was cloudy. The company was overwhelmed by debt and trying to reinvent itself in a crowded field by being less dependent on retail stores.

When Chip Bergh became chief executive officer in 2011 things began to turn around with repeated quarters of double-digit growth. Bergh also has made Levi’s a values-driven company, by lending vocal corporate support to issues such as gun violence prevention, voter turnout, and climate change prevention.

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