Despite the repercussions of the recent election and a subsequent capital market upset, a high profile initial public offering (IPO) is in the pipeline in Italy. Notebook maker Moleskine will offer an IPO in Milan before the end of March, says Reuters.
The company has not confirmed the plans and Reuters cited three unnamed sources familiar with the proceedings.
In the age of smartphones and tablets, Moleskine became the go-to-brand for classy stationary, establishing a dominant market share and high profit margins.
Private equity firm Syntegra Capital, which owns a majority stake, plans to float 50 percent of the company on the Milan stock exchange. The offer includes both existing and new shares, valuing the company between $651 million and $970 million.
“Moleskine is a fast growing and highly profitable brand that encompasses a family of nomadic objects: notebooks, diaries, journals, bags, writing instruments and reading accessories, dedicated to our mobile identity,” Syntegra’s website says about Moleskine.
In addition, Syntegra, which bought Moleskine in 2006, likes the company’s cash flows and high profitability. Sales increased 25 percent to $25.6 million, sporting an operating margin of 43 percent in 2012.
According to Moleskine’s website, the brand started in 1997 with the claim to “[bring] back to life the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries,” referring to legends such as Ernest Hemingway and Vincent Van Gogh.
Moleskine modeled its notebooks after the classic notebooks these artists used. According to Der Spiegel magazine, it was Italian marketing consultant Maria Sebregondi, who first thought of bringing these arcane paper products back to life.
After reading a passage about notebooks in Bruce Chatwin’s “The Songlines,” she went to Paris and bought a classic notebook in an antique store and pitched the product idea to Moleskine.
This was the start of a success story that would sell 14 million notebooks in over 90 countries in 2012.
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