Chinese fast-fashion company Shein has confidentially filed for an IPO (initial public offering) in the U.S., seeking to expand its global presence. Valued at $66 billion in its last assessment, the retailer aims to begin trading on public markets in 2024, with ongoing discussions about its current valuation.
Confidential filings, allowing private communication with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, are part of the customary IPO process. Over the next months, Shein is expected to refine paperwork and address SEC inquiries before making the filing public.
While Shein has gained global popularity for its affordable and trendy designs, it has faced challenges, including allegations of forced labor, environmental concerns, and design theft. The House Select Committee on the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) is currently investigating the company, and lawmakers have called on the SEC to scrutinize its supply chain for forced labor before the IPO.
Shein has taken measures to address negative perceptions, acquiring a significant stake in Sparc Group. Additionally, they are also forming a co-branded clothing line with former rival Forever 21. Despite these efforts, the company, led by the enigmatic CEO Sky Xu, faces the challenge of building trust with U.S. regulators. Xu’s limited public engagement is a departure from the norm among publicly traded companies.
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, & Morgan Stanley have been selected as lead underwriters for Shein’s IPO. However, both Shein and the banks involved have refrained from providing comments on the matter. As the fashion giant navigates the IPO process, attention and hype remains on its ability to address controversies, build regulatory trust, and successfully enter the U.S. public market.
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