Yeti Holdings Inc., the outdoor products company best known for its coolers and mugs, priced its initial public offering Wednesday at $18 a share, below the range of $19 to $21 a share the company had hoped for. The company had withdrawn another IPO earlier this year, citing “market conditions.” It will list under the ticker “YETI.”
Yeti, which calls itself an “emerging growth company,” was founded in 2006 by brothers Roy and Ryan Seiders. The pair grew up hunting, fishing and going to outdoor industry trade shows and, finding that many coolers broke down easily, decided to build a cooler “for the serious outdoor enthusiast rather than for the mass-discount retailers,” according to the company website.
Yeti coolers aren’t cheap. A Tundra 110, which can hold 74 cans of beer and has “rotomolded construction” that makes it “virtually indestructible,” is priced on the website for $499.99, for example. For comparison, a 55-quart performance cooler on Walmart Inc.’s website was $97 on Oct. 19.
The company also sells mugs and other drinkware, bags (the Panga 100 waterproof duffel is $399.99), and accessories.
Yeti says sales have grown from $89.9 million in 2013 to $639.2 million in 2017, with operating income growing from $15.2 million to $64.0 million over the same period.
Here are five things to know about Yeti:
Yeti is focused on DTC
A key part of Yeti’s strategy is direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales and marketing. Its DTC channel includes the Yeti website, Yeti Custom Shop, and a Yeti-authorized Amazon.com Inc. marketplace.
The company also has Yeti Ambassadors comprising hunters, rodeo cowboys, barbeque pitmasters, surfers and others, who are helping to expand “Yeti Nation.” Marketing spend was $156.5 million between 2013 and 2017, with $50.7 million spend in 2017.
“Based on our annual owner studies, from 2015 to 2018 our customer base has evolved from 9% female to 34%, and from 64% aged 45 and under to 70%,” the prospectus says. “While we have continued to invest in and remain true to our heritage hunting and fishing communities, our customer base evolved from 69% hunters to 38% during that same time period as our appeal broadened beyond those heritage communities.”
Going beyond “heritage markets”
Yeti’s “heritage markets” includes the Southeastern U.S., such as Florida and Georgia, north to the Carolinas, Maryland and Virginia, and west to Oklahoma and Texas. The company wants to develop further brand awareness and says it has reach throughout the U.S. and in a growing international market. Awareness in U.S. markets has gone from 2% in October 2015 to 10% in July 2018, according to the company’s own brand tracking survey.
Yeti’s sales are seasonal
The company says its sales have a “seasonal component,” with the highest numbers posted in the second and fourth quarters.
“To date, however, it has been difficult to accurately analyze this seasonality due to fluctuations in our sales,” the prospectus said. “In addition, due to our more recent, and therefore more limited experience, with bags, storage, and outdoor lifestyle products and accessories, we are continuing to analyze the seasonality of these products. We expect that this seasonality will continue to be a factor in our results of operations and sales.”
Yeti says seasonal fluctuations may be “significant” and comparisons between quarters in a fiscal year or the same quarter year-over-year “are not necessarily meaningful and that these comparisons cannot be relied upon as indicators of our future performance.”
Debt is a risk
On Sept. 29, 2018, the company said its long-term debt excluding issuance costs would be about $352.5 million, which reflects an additional payment of $41.4 million during the three months ending on that date.
One of the risks Yeti highlights is that the company’s indebtedness may limit its ability to invest in the business.
Yeti notes that it is a holding company whose principal cash flow source is subsidiary distributions.
An acquisition could be difficult to come by
“Anti-takeover provisions in our charter documents and under Delaware law [where the company is incorporated] could make an acquisition of our company more difficult, limit attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management, and limit the market price of our common stock,” the prospectus said.
Yeti doesn’t intend to pay dividends for the foreseeable future.