Levi Strauss shares open at $22.22 in IPO

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Chip Bergh, the president and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co.

Blue jeans giant Levi Strauss & Co began trading on the New York Stock Exchange at $22.22 a share, after having priced its initial public offering at $17 a share the night prior.

The company had initially expected to price its offering between $14 and $16 a share.

The 166-year-old company first went public in 1971, but has been private for the last 34 years.

Over the last 10 years, global jeans sales have climbed at a 3.5 percent compounded annual growth rate, slower than the entire apparel category, according to Bernstein analyst Jamie Merriman.

The newly public company hopes to improve market share with women, on the internet and in China. Its men’s business accounted for $4 billion of Levi’s $5.6 billion 2018 revenue, while just 3 percent of its revenue came from China.

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