Oatly Is Planning to IPO Sooner Than Anyone Thought, According to Reports
After months of speculation about its imminent IPO, Oatly's stock will be available to the public sooner than anyone anticipated, according to reports filed with the SEC. Oatly filed to go public on the NASDAQ at a potential valuation of $10 billion, as early as the beginning of May. Get ready for the oat rush.
The plant-based milk pioneer filed to start the process back in February and now has started the clock ticking on a countdown to launch, by officially filing with the SEC, which means it has until early May to make its debut. The Swedish brand officially filed to go public under “OTLY” and though some of the details remain unknown, like stock price and the number of shares to be issued, the company had been rumored to put its value at $10 billion. Oatly’s IPO could be the largest plant-based company to date, in relative terms more than 25 times the price of Beyond when it first debuted back in May 2019. Now Beyond's stock is at $126 a share, with a total market cap of less than $8 billion, so Oatly's pricing is considered aggressive by most industry standards.
The oat milk brand has seen tremendous success in recent years due to the generational shift concerning diet, sustainability, and environmental issues. Consumer demand continues to shift towards plant-based milk alternatives and the surging market project a profitable IPO.
“Generation Z and Millenials will become the dominant global generations in the coming years, bringing to the market a new set of values and expectations,” the company said in a statement. “These combined factors are driving a clear rapid, accelerating growth and influx of new consumers to the plant-based dairy market.”
Oatly announced plans in March to launch a fleet of electric delivery trucks and build the largest oat milk factory in the world, in Peterborough, England. And in January rumors began swirling about its $10 billion IPO, which made sense of the strange, brilliantly simple Super Bowl ad that saw its CEO Toni Petersson singing in a field of oats about the joys of milk, off-tune and looked pained while belting out a song he'd written with the lyrics worthy of a third-grader: "Wow, Wow, No Cow!" That somehow looked like a genius move when it was reported that the Gen Z friendly company would sell to the public in the coming months.
Oprah and Other Celebrities Back Oatly's Planet-Friendly Products
Oatly raised $200 million in July of 2020 from a group of investors spearheaded by the equity giant The Blackstone Group and joined by Oprah Winfrey, Natalie Portman, entertainment agency Roc Nation, and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. At the time, the Wall Street Journal reported that the investment valued the company at $2 million. Oatly came to the United States in 2017, but a year before Verlinvest became one of the company's initial investors. The capital investing company now owns about 60% of Oatly, continuously helping propel the oat milk company forward in the global market.
Oatly’s European debut came during the late 1990s, but the company’s oat milk product gained popularity in the US around 2017 when NYC coffee shops began to carry the milk alternative. Since then, the brand’s popularity has soared and its products now can be found at restaurants and retailers nationwide. The brand partnered with Target for retail and debuted at Starbucks, rapidly becoming one of the most accessible plant-based milk across the United States. The company has now expanded to 60,000 retailers and 30,000 coffee shops across the world, making its influence known across the international market.
The company’s IPO prospectus states that the oat milk company made $421.4 million in 2020, which doubled its earnings from 2019. The prospectus shows that Oatly had profit losses both years, but its cash and equivalents increased from $10.6 million in 2019 to $105.4 million in 2020. The companies expansion can also be seen through its widespread popularity in national brands and continued outside investment. The company addressed the losses, claiming that it sees its value and capital to make significant spikes in the upcoming years.
“Our expansion efforts may take longer or prove more expensive than we anticipate, particularly in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we may not succeed in increasing our revenue and margins sufficiently to offset the anticipated higher expenses,” the company said in its prospectus. “We incur significant expenses in researching and developing our innovative products, building out our production and manufacturing facilities, obtaining and storing ingredients and other products, and marketing the products we offer.”
Starbucks rolled out Oatly products across its stores nationwide in early April, and almost immediately experience a shortage because neither the coffee chain nor Oatly could meet consumer demand. The company plans to open its second manufacturing plant this summer, especially after reviewing the immense consumer interest in the oat-milk product.
Oatly will be the most recent vegan brand to make its IPO, but plant-based meat company Beyond Meat went public in May 2019. The brand saw immediate success when its stock prices surged 163 percent on the first day. With Plant-Based Foods Association and Good Foods institute claiming that plant-based food sales reached $7 billion in 2020, Oatly’s IPO will mark a significant milestone for the plant-based market, and investors will be paying attention.