This week denim lovers will get the opportunity to invest in more than just a pair of Levi 501s. For the first time in more than three decades, investors can buy shares of the world's biggest jeans seller.
Levi Strauss & Co. is expected to list nearly 37 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange at a price between $14 and $16. Under the symbol LEVI, the stock should begin trading Thursday.
The initial public offering will mark an end to 34 years as a privately held company, as it will be the second time in its history the denim giant will be publicly traded. The 166-year-old company had its first initial public offering in 1971 and traded until 1985, when the founder's descendants took the company private in a leveraged buyout.
A key reason Levi Strauss is going public is that an IPO allows the founder's descendants to cash-out some of their holdings, yet retain control because of the dual-class shareholder structure. It also will give the company a financial boost to invest in its business and potentially sweeten compensation for its employees.
"The IPO for Levi Strauss is about getting liquidity for the Haas family," Kathleen Smith, manager of the Renaissance IPO ETF told CNBC's "Power Lunch."
According to the prospectus, members of the Haas family will sell more than 21 million shares in the IPO. At $15 a share, the midpoint of the expected range, the value of the family's collective proceeds would be nearly $317 million. Further, due to the dual-class share structure, the family will still hold nearly 81 percent of the total shareholder voting power after the offering as each share of the Class B common stock the family will hold will be entitled to 10 votes, compared with one vote for the Class A shares.
The Haas family "has transitioned to professional managers, so the [family] really isn't involved in managing Levi Strauss, and we have a company with a history of managing profitability and sales," Smith said.