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SmileDirectClub picks bankers for upcoming IPO

Illustration of teeth opening wide with rolled 100 dollar bills inside.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

SmileDirectClub, a provider of at-home teeth straightening systems that lets users bypass the orthodontist's office, has picked bankers for an upcoming IPO, Axios has learned.

Details: The Nashville-based company expects to file its S-1 document by the end of June, with J.P. Morgan listed as lead manager. It was launched 6 years ago and expects to do at least $1 billion in 2019 revenue.

  • SDC has raised nearly $400 million in private funding, including an infusion last fall at a $3.2 billion post-money valuation. Backers include Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Spark Capital and Kleiner Perkins. Both Spark and KP did the deals out of their growth funds.
  • A company spokeswoman declined comment for this story.

SDC's top comp is Align Technologies, the maker of Invisalign products, which generated nearly $2 billion in revenue last year and has a market cap just north of $20 billion. One big difference is that SDC doesn't use orthodontist offices for distribution, as does Align, which has led some orthodontist organizations to file safety complaints with state dental boards.

  • But Align also was a large investor in SDC, with around a 19% stake.
  • SDC last year sued Align for violating a non-compete agreement, and an arbitrator ruled in SDC's favor earlier this month.
  • The ruling requires Align to sell back its equity in SDC to the company (at a below-market rate), close all 12 of its Invisalign stores and extend the non-compete agreement through August 2022.
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