Gilt Groupe Eyes Late 2014 IPO — For Real, This Time
Gilt, the online purveyor of discounted luxury clothing that has flirted with an IPO several times in the past, could go public as early as the fourth quarter of 2014, according to people familiar with the company’s plans.
The company has not yet hired any banks for the offering, though, and so delaying the IPO until early 2015 is still possible, these people cautioned.
No matter the exact timing, the flash-sale pioneer, which has raised more than $200 million in investments, has never seemed more committed to a public offering. Company and industry sources tell AllThingsD that the New York City-based Gilt has been performing exceptionally well under the new leadership of CEO Michelle Peluso, who took over for founder and chairman Kevin Ryan in February.
A Gilt spokeswoman declined to comment on the company’s IPO plans, but did provide some high-level information on the company’s financial performance.
Gross revenue has grown 40 percent in the last four quarters compared to the previous four quarters, when stripping out both the Jetsetter travel business, which Gilt sold, as well as the discontinued Park & Bond full-price men’s brand.
(Update: Gilt says that the company’s revenue growth rate has increased 40 percent in the last four quarters versus the previous four quarters; it won’t, however, say what its current growth rate is.)
The company would not comment on 2013 revenue, but has said it did more than $550 million in gross revenue in the 2012 calendar year — excluding the above-mentioned businesses — compared to more than $450 million in 2011.
Gilt is not profitable by generally accepted accounting principles. But, like Zulily and Twitter and other fast-growing digital companies, Gilt has said it uses an often-criticized profitability metric known as adjusted EBITDA, which it says paints a clearer picture of its operating performance. The metric excludes stock-based compensation to employees in addition to interest, depreciation, taxes and amortization. Gilt said it will be adjusted-EBITDA positive for the 2013 calendar year. (By comparison, flash-sale site Zulily said in its IPO filling that it registered $7.5 million in adjusted EBIDTA in the first six months of this year, after losing $4.4 million according to the same metric in the first six months of 2012.)
Peluso told AllThingsD in June that an IPO was the company’s “likely path, but we’re not in a rush.”
“It’s a very dynamic conversation,” she said at the time. “Part of it is what I think, part of it is what changes if a competitor goes public, for example.”
The outlook around the future of the flash-sales model, which entails selling heavily discounted goods during limited duration sales that spur impulse buying, has improved recently. Seattle-based Zulily, a flash-sale company that sells women’s, kid’s and baby clothes, recently raised $253 million in an IPO. The company, which priced its IPO at $22 a share, is currently trading above $35.
One Kings Lane, a flash-sale startup that focuses on furnishings, and HauteLook, a Gilt competitor that Nordstrom acquired in 2011, are also said to be growing quickly.