Luxury fashion brand marketplace Farfetch has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to pursue its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, a move that comes after months of speculation that it was planning to do so.
The company did not offer details regarding the price range of the shares, the total number of shares to be offered or possible timing for the IPO. Farfetch is looking to trade under the ticker symbol "FTCH" on the NYSE.
Farfetch also did not state in the filing how much money it was looking to raise through the IPO. Of its plans for the money, Farfetch was also tight-lipped. "We intend to use the net proceeds from this offering and the concurrent private placement for working capital, to fund incremental growth and other general corporate purposes, including possible acquisitions," the company said. "However, we do not currently have any definitive or preliminary plans with respect to the use of proceeds for such purposes."
Reports of Farfetch's potential IPO plans initially surfaced in February, when a CNBC story based on unnamed sources suggested the company could aim for a $5 billion public market valuation. The fact that it took another six months for the company to file with the SEC is not uncommon.
Sometimes management and/or board members take their time hashing out such plans, including potential benefits and drawbacks, but in other cases, companies might just be looking for the right time to file and announce their IPO intentions. Current market conditions may or may not have played a role in the timing of Farfetch's filing, but it's worth noting that retail sector stocks have been on a good run lately, not so long after the phrase "retail apocalypse" was being uttered on a very frequent basis.
Farfetch for its part also has been on a good run. China's JD.com invested almost $400 million in the firm in the first half of 2017, and the marketplace reportedly has around one million active users shopping items from more than 700 different brands. At the end of last year, it posted revenue of $386 million for the year, an increase of almost 60% over the previous year.
Farfetch also has been pursuing technology capabilities, such as mobile features that could be used in the stores of its retail partners, to bridge online and in-store experiences and strengthen its relationships with those partners.
Still, the London-based company likely has ambitions to expand into more markets and become an indispensable resource for more users, especially amid rapid growth in the number of online marketplaces, as well as competitive changes in the luxury segment. Those include Richemont's move to acquire Yoox Net-a-Porter and Coach's bid to expand its luxury ambitions by rebranding as Tapestry. In this environment, Farfetch's IPO filing is no big surprise and perhaps an absolute necessity as it aims to reach the next level.