Canada's Hardy Capital sees online shoe retailer IPO in 2015
By John Tilak
TORONTO, March 2 (Reuters) - Canadian entrepreneur and venture capitalist Roger Hardy said on Monday he is looking to take an online shoe retailing company public this year to tap investor appetite for e-commerce businesses.
Hardy told Reuters by phone that he expects the company, which will be called Shoes.com Technologies Ltd, to record net revenue $250 million in 2015, with the United States contributing about 85 percent.
The company's revenue was over $200 million in 2014, and its U.S. business is profitable, he said, projecting the firm's growth at more than 30 percent a year over the next five years.
Though he said it was too early to release details of the potential IPO, Hardy said the company could currently be valued at $500 million to $750 million based on valuation metrics for e-commerce firms. A listing may either be in Toronto or a major U.S. exchange, or both.
"The footwear category is undergoing a tremendous shift. You're seeing this big migration to online purchases," Hardy told Reuters. "We're trying to stay in front of this trend."
The e-commerce industry, dominated by giants such as Amazon.com Inc and eBay Inc, is highly sought by venture capitalists and investors as more consumers make their purchases online. China's e-commerce giant Alibaba Group recorded the world's biggest IPO at $25 billion last September.
Hardy made a name for himself last year when he sold Coastal Contacts Inc, a digital retailer of eyeglasses and contact lenses, to Essilor International for about C$430 million. Coastal was listed on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.
With help from his investing vehicle, Vancouver-based Hardy Capital Partners, he has since acquired OnlineShoes.com, which had revenue of $140 million, and Shoes.com, with revenue of $60 million. Those two businesses were merged with ShoeMe.ca, which targets Canadian consumers. Continued...