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Traders are wearing jeans in honor of Levi Strauss’s IPO

Traders are wearing jeans in honor of Levi Strauss’s IPO
[Photo: courtesy of New York Stock Exchange]

At the sound of Thursday’s opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), denim retailer Levi Strauss & Co. will once again become a public company. Using the ticker symbol LEVI, the jeans giant reenters Wall Street in a deal led by Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. Levi’s priced its shares at $17, which could give the company a $6.6 billion valuation. Its Wall Street appearance is highly anticipated; by Wednesday, Levi’s initial public offering was reportedly already more than 10 times oversubscribed. In total, the company is likely to raise around $623 million today.

[Photo: courtesy of New York Stock Exchange]
In celebration, the 202-year-old NYSE is easing its strict formal dress code policy for the day, even allowing denim on the floor–whether it’s a pair of jeans, a denim jacket, or both. The temporary policy change coincides with CEO Charles “Chip” Bergh’s known preference for wearing jeans rather than a suit at public appearances. (The NYSE isn’t the only financial institution rethinking workplace attire; earlier this month, an internal memo at Goldman Sachs told staff it was loosening its dress code policies due to the “changing nature of workspaces.”)

Last year, Levi’s business grew about 8%. Meanwhile, Bergh led his company with values in mind. For example, he gave employees PTO in order to vote, as well as donated $1 million toward combating gun violence.

This is the second time the iconic American company, known for its classic blue denim jeans and Dockers khaki pants, has gone public–the first time being 1971, before descendants of founder Levi Strauss took the company private again in 1985. The company had its start in 1853 when Strauss opened a dry goods store in San Fransisco and sold sturdy denim pants to California gold miners. As the Wall Street Journal notes, descendants of Strauss are still the company’s biggest shareholders to this day.

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