The stock market is basically at all-time highs, and that is allowing the market for initial public offerings to continue serving up well-known companies with unicorn valuations of $1 billion or more. Beyond Meat Inc. (NASDAQ: BYND) made its debut on Thursday, with an IPO of $9.625 million at a price of $25 per common share. Its initial price range was between $19 and $21 per common share.
Where things got interesting is that Beyond Meat first opened up at $46 and then traded up above $60 at one point. And to complicate matters further, Beyond Meat’s entire first day of trading volume was already at almost 12 million shares within the first hour of its trading.
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Credit Suisse were listed at the lead book-running managers of the syndicate. Merrill Lynch and Jefferies were listed as book-running managers, and William Blair was a co-manager for the offering. The underwriting syndicate also was issued a typical 30-day overallotment option to purchase up to 1,443,750 additional shares of common stock.
The allure of Beyond Meat is not just the company raised close to $250 million at the IPO price, nor that it was valued at $1.46 billion at that IPO price. Its value after opening and trading higher was suddenly at $3 billion.
Beyond Meat wants to sell itself as a healthier protein company than traditional meats, and also with meat replacement that is soy-free and gluten-free. In a CNBC interview, the company was targeting the overall meat market rather than the plant-based meat-alternative market, which is not surprising considering that the meat market itself is exponentially larger.
One issue that came up in that CEO interview is that Beyond Meat would not commit to becoming profitable in the near term, as it wants to invest in the buildout now to get a larger payoff later. The company also sees beef and pork replacement as the primary replacements at this time due to the meats being tied to common diseases and ailments more than poultry.
The run in Beyond Meat was more than impressive, but investors should consider that this company likely will face fierce competition ahead. Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) sold its stake in the company, and there are reports that it wants to offer up its own version of “meatless meat.” Nestle is also set to launch its own meatless Awesome Burger in the coming months, and there have been variations of meatless patties and meatless sausage on the market for years.
At last look, Beyond Meat was trading at $62.88 a share, and its trading volume was already approaching 15 million shares.