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Amer Sports IPO puts US$1B-plus value on Vancouver's Chip Wilson's stake

Billionaire Lululemon founder bought 20.65-per-cent stake in Amer Sports in 2018
Chip Wilson (third from left) was on hand this morning as the opening bell rang and Amer Sports' shares started trading

Vancouver's Chip Wilson was on the New York Stock Exchange stage this morning to clap and enjoy the moment when the opening bell rang and Amer Sports (NYSE:AS) started trading. 

Amer Sports listed its shares at US$13 per share, which was below the US$16-to-US$18 range that it last week said it would list its shares. The shares then ended the trading day up 3.1 per cent, at US$13.40.

The IPO's opening price valued Amer Sports at about US$6.3-billion. The company raised about US$1.37 billion.

Wilson, who made his fortune by founding and guiding Lululemon Athletica Inc. (Nasdaq:LULU), in 2018 teamed up with China’s Anta Sports Products Ltd. to buy, as part of a joint venture, the Finland-based company known for brands such as Vancouver-based Arc'Teryx, Wilson, Peak Performance, Salomon, Atomic and others. 

Wilson provided 550 million euros (around $807 million) and got a 20.65-per-cent stake in the joint venture that acquired Amer Sports.

Wilson's 79 million shares in Amer Sports would have then increased in value to US$1.027 billion at the company’s US$13 opening price, and more by the end of the day. 

Wilson is not looking to exit his position.

His faith in the company is strong enough that a revised Amer Sports prospectus said Wilson planned to buy an additional US$220 million of its stock as part of its IPO.

Wilson would not be able to sell his original shares on the public market, Leith Wheeler CEO Jim Gilliland explained to BIV this morning.

Wilson may, however, find that his original shares are more liquid because the public market would set a value on them. Wilson could then, theoretically, go to a bank or venture capital firm and have that institution be more willing to buy his shares at the market price because there is a clear value for them.

Amer Sports could also do a secondary offering if a pre-existing shareholder wanted to sell a large block of shares, Gilliland said.

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