Oct 2, 2023 - Economy

Birkenstock will get to go public, but an IPO shutdown still looms

Animated illustration of a stock ticker with the words HURRY UP, LET'S GO, GIDDY UP,  and WE DON'T HAVE ALL DAY, and some upward arrows running across it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Please reset the IPO play clock to 47 days.

Driving the news: Congress narrowly averted a government shutdown that would have doubled as an IPO market shutdown.

  • But it didn't solve the problem because, well, Congress. Instead, it kicked the crisis can into mid-November.
  • In fact, Congress can't even do a "45-day continuing resolution" correctly, since the actual Nov. 17 deadline is 47 days away (and 48 from when Biden signed it into law).

Why it matters: Companies seeking to go public in 2023 must try to do so within that window.

  • For prospective December issuers — and there are several — that means either accelerating the process or preparing for the very real possibility of delay.

Behind the scenes: Last week, we wrote that Birkenstock would get caught up in the shutdown, were there to be one. And it would have, but not for a lack of last-minute trying.

  • Multiple sources say that the company held an early Friday morning meeting, and decided to try to get its registration deemed effective by the SEC before day's end. Multiple sources say that the SEC was supportive of the decision and responsive to early efforts.
  • Ultimately, however, Birkenstock couldn't pull it off — primarily because IPO paperwork remains a largely manual process that simply took more time than the company had left. Had it held the meeting on Thursday afternoon, things might have been different.
  • In the end, of course, there was no shutdown, so it's academic. The company today will launch its IPO roadshow, and this morning filed to sell 32.26 million shares at between $44 and $49 per share. At the top of its range, Birkenstock would raise $1.58 billion at around a $9.2 billion valuation.

The bottom line: Conventional wisdom is that IPO issuers shouldn't try to time the market. This is an exception.

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