Merchant Innovation

E-Commerce Site Wayfair Eyes IPO (In Alibaba’s Shadow)

Wayfair Inc. is gunning for $350 million in its upcoming IPO.  Wayfair’s primary business is as an e-retailer for home furnishings, though it also operates several other e-commerce sites, including the membership-based Joss & Main. The company began its IPO process with a confidential filing earlier this year, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Wayfair was able to make a secret filing under the JOBS Act, which allows companies with revenue under $1 billion to file confidentially.

The Boston company’s IPO filing was made public Friday (August 15), along with data about its total revenue and expense picture.

On the upside heading into a stock offering, Wayfairs revenues are up 50 percent to $574.1 million from $383.2 million in 2013. Unfortunately, that revenue is increasingly being consumed by rising expenses.

Operating expenses increased to $185.1 million in 2014, up from  $102.8 million a year earlier. Overall, Wayfair posted a net loss of $51.4 million for the first half of the year, when the loss during the same period in 2013 was only $8.3 million.

Further complicating Wayfair’s road to IPO is the looming shadow of Chinese e-retail giant and defacto competitor Alibaba.  The Chinese company’s IPO is set to launch after Labor Day and has effectively stolen some of Wayfair’s thunder.

The filing didn’t disclose how many shares Wayfair hopes to sell, or at what price.

CEO and CTO Nirah Shah and Tevene Conine co-founded the company and owns 57.8 percent of the shares outstanding pre-IPO.

The offering will be led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Group Inc. and Allen & Co.



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