You didn’t see this coming: Moleskine (backed by Index Ventures) goes public

20 Mar, 2013

Remember when Index Ventures said it had “a dozen or so” companies that were ready for IPO? I’m sure Moleskine wasn’t one of the first names that came to mind.

And yet, here it is: Moleskine, producer of luxury and lustworthy notebooks, will go public on the Italian stock exchange:

If its shareholders and the investment bankers who are advising the firm’s management have judged the market correctly, Moleskine, the strangely spelled name of a stationery firm, is worth between €424m and €561m.

Best known for its black hard-and-soft-covered notebooks with rounded corners, a little over 55% of Moleskine’s shares are being offered to the public from March 18th. Trading in the shares should begin on the Italian stockmarket on April 3rd. (source: Economist)

The company, which is owned by Syntegra Capital and Index Ventures, will float just over half its shares.

The Moleskine line of notebooks was resurrected in 1995 by two Italians, a decade after production in France ceased. Since then, they have relentlessly stressed the point that famous artists like Picasso, Van Gogh, Hemingway and Chatwin used the notebooks (which is not entirely true, by the way: they used notebooks similar to Moleskine, but not of the Moleskine brand).

While the hipster notebooks are probably still what makes the cash register sing (Moleskine made a net profit of € 13.8 million on € 67.3 million of sales), the company also branched out into iPad covers and even apps.

Robin Klein of Index Ventures remarked on Twitter that Moleskine is “a great illustration of how building brands adds value”. Indeed, the IPO price range gives the company a valuation of between 22 and 29.1 times 2012 earnings, less than Prada which trades at 34.7 times, but above Burberry (21.9 times).

Moleskine wants to expand in China (it’s opening stores there soon) as well as in Latin America.

[via The Economist][Photo: Sam Crocket, Flickr]

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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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