Warby Parker's IPO Is Coming This Week—What's the Price?

Online eyeglasses retailer Warby Parker is going public this week through a direct listing. It will be selling Class A, B, and C shares.

Kathryn Underwood - Author

Sep. 27 2021, Published 11:38 a.m. ET

Warby Parker is known for selling affordable glasses online. The company is focused on an IPO this week. Although rumors of the company going public have been circulating for months, with a confidential filing in June, more details about the IPO are now available to the public.

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The Warby Parker IPO is planned for Sept. 29, according to Renaissance Capital. Instead of a traditional IPO, the firm has opted for a direct listing, which can be a useful alternative for companies that don’t need to raise capital through a typical IPO.

A brief history of Warby Parker

The company was founded in 2010 after one of its co-founders needed replacement glasses while traveling, but couldn’t afford the high price. The four co-founders set out to disrupt the eyewear industry that had long been dominated by a single company keeping prices artificially inflated.

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Warby Parker allows you to try on glasses frames for free that you order online and have delivered to your home. The eyeglasses start at $95. The prices are so low in part because the company does most of its work in-house and sells direct-to-consumer.

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Currently, Warby Parker employs about 3,000 people and serves over 2 million active customers. The number is expected to grow, especially as the market for eyeglasses customers grows along with the elderly population and the use of glasses increases in daily life.

Warby Parker reported that it booked $487 million in sales for the 12 months ending June 30, 2021. MarketWatch noted that the six months ending on June 30 brought $7.3 million net losses and $270.5 million in revenue.

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Details about the Warby Parker IPO

The company known for its affordable eyeglasses and convenient online shopping experience intends to go public on the NYSE under the ticker symbol "WRBY," according to MarketWatch.

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Warby Parker plans to offer Class A, Class B, and Class C shares of its stock, each of which has its own value in terms of voting rights over the company. Class A shares are eligible for one vote per share, Class B will be worth 10 votes per share (with the option to convert to Class A shares), and Class C shares will hold no voting rights.

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warby parker glasses
Source: Warby Parker Facebook

Registered stockholders are expected to sell up to 77.7 million Class A shares. During the first half of 2021, $24.53 was the price of about 2 million shares sold in private transactions. Although that price isn't certain, Renaissance Capital noted that the price for its IPO would give the firm a fully diluted market value of $2.9 billion.

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As a direct listing, the IPO won't require underwriters. Instead, several firms will serve as financial advisers on the deal. The firms are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Allen & Company, Baird, Citi, Cowen, Evercore ISI, and Telsey Advisory Group.

Potential IPO struggles for Warby Parker

Warby Parker has acknowledged a few struggles that it might face in its pursuit of further growth after its IPO. First, Warby Parker warns that it might suffer from supply shortages that slow production.

The company also notes that most eyeglasses consumers still prefer buying eyeglasses in a store versus online. Another issue is that performing most of its production in-house might cause issues with scalability as the company grows.


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