When brothers Harry and David began visiting corporate clients around the country in November of 1934, they had a tall task before them. Hoping to invigorate the family's pear orchard in Oregon, the brothers decided to market their harvest to Corporate America as the ideal holiday gift. It worked!
More than 70 years later, the company hasn't strayed too far from its beginnings. Yesterday, the fruit and gift basket specialist announced that it was filing to go public. Harry & David Holdings, formerly known as Bear Creek Holdings, is looking to raise as much as $125 million in the offering.
The company's financials aren't likely to impress investors much. Hoovers estimates that it lost $3.5 million in fiscal 2005, which ended in March. Sales for the year grew by 7.6% to $561.8 million. EBITDA fans -- and I know there are more than two or three of you out there -- may have a better feel for the company knowing that it would have produced roughly $45 million in profits last year before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. EBITDA bashers, you know the drill. When we're talking EBITDA, it usually means that the company is packing on some good chunks of debt.
The company was sold last year for $260 million. It may be worth a little more than that today. That's why it will be interesting to see how much more investment bankers think it is worth as a public entity.
There are some compelling public companies catering to the mail-delivered gifting segment like Provide Commerce
Provide Commerce is consistently profitable and has grown its revenue by 44% through the first nine months of fiscal 2005.
Finding traditional mail-order companies to shadowbox with Harry & David is a bit trickier. Outfits like Coldwater Creek
It will definitely be an IPO worth watching. Wall Street is a long way from an Oregon orchard, but it's a journey worth making if you're ready to deliver the goods.
Come see what else the Rule Breakers team is unearthing these days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has never been one to look a gift basket in the mouth. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.