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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Warby Parker is set to go public Wednesday via a direct listing. It got a $40 per share reference price, which would value the eyeglasses retailer at nearly $5 billion.

Why it matters: This could be a fraught time for direct listings, as vested employees are getting jumbled guidance from D.C. on how their potential sales would be taxed. But that didn't seem to hurt yesterday's direct listing by Amplitude, the data analytics company whose first-day performance defied the Nasdaq's worst trading session since March.

Details: Warby is a direct-to-consumer pioneer that now generates more sales from its physical retail stores than it does via its digital channels. The company, a certified B Corp, plans to list on the NYSE (WRBY) and reports a $7 million net loss on $271 million in revenue for the first half of 2021.

ROI: It raised over $500 million in VC funding, most recently last summer at a $3 billion valuation, from firms like Tiger Global, T. Rowe Price, General Catalyst, D1 Capital Partners and Durable Capital Partners.

The bottom line: "We believe a direct listing is a more transparent and inclusive process for lots of fans of the brad who in a traditional IPO wouldn't have the option of getting an allocation.. It creates a fair playing field for all," Dave Gilboa, Warby Parker co-founder and CEO, told Axios. ⁠

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Oct 7, 2021 - Economy & Business

Peloton rival postpones its IPO

Source: iFIT Health & Fitness.

iFIT Health & Fitness, a Peloton rival whose brands include NordicTrack, on Thursday postponed its IPO, citing "adverse market conditions."

Reality check: Two other companies, including one in the fitness space, priced IPOs last night and began trading today.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers — New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

The Robinhood M&A rumor mill churns

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Robinhood's valuation is now just over $11 billion, a fraction of where it traded in August and below that of its last private round of funding. Cue the M&A mongers.

Why it matters: It's not just Robinhood—falling values of growth-oriented tech stocks have raised speculation that formerly high-flying fintechs could be snapped up by more well-capitalized buyers.

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