Joe & the Juice's Private Equity Owners Considering IPO in 2019

(Bloomberg) -- The private equity owners of Joe & the Juice are considering an initial public offering toward the end of 2019 for the health-food chain targeting young professionals and hipsters, people familiar with the matter said.

Valedo Partners, based in Stockholm, and U.S. buyout firm General Atlantic have begun internal preparations and could appoint banks in the first half of 2019, the people said, asking not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. No final decisions have been made, they said.

Joe & the Juice is weighing a U.S. listing as it focuses on expanding in that market, where it now has outlets spread from New York to San Francisco, the people said. The Copenhagen-based chain could command a valuation of about $1.5 billion as it seeks to benchmark itself against retailers such as Shake Shack Inc., they said.

Representatives for Valedo and General Atlantic declined to comment. A representative for Joe & the Juice didn’t respond to requests for comment.

A listing by the hip beverages shop would break a more than three-year drought in restaurant IPOs bigger than $50 million in the U.S., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Brazilian steakhouse chain Fogo De Chao Inc., whose June 2015 listing was the last to top that mark, was acquired this year by private equity firm Rhone Capital.

The nine deals of that size that priced in 2014 and 2015 have climbed 70 percent, based on the average weighted by offering size. Dave & Busters Entertainment Inc. and Wingstop Inc. led the way, both having climbed more than 240 percent, followed by Shake Shack’s 149 percent gain.

Majority Stake

Joe & the Juice was founded in 2002 by Chief Executive Officer Kaspar Basse. It secured an investment from Valedo in December 2013 that made the Swedish buyout firm its majority owner. Less than three years later, Greenwich, Connecticut-based General Atlantic said it had taken a minority stake -- also without revealing the financial terms -- and appointed two representatives to the retailer’s board.

Joe & the Juice sells freshly prepared organic juices, shakes, sandwiches and coffee at about 300 locations, with a third of them in the U.S. and most of the rest in northern Europe.

Rival Pret A Manger had also sought a U.S. listing before JAB Holding Co. agreed to acquire the U.K. chain in May for about 1.5 billion pounds ($1.9 billion), people familiar said at the time.

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