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Wall Street Rivals Morgan Stanley & Goldman Back IPOs Of Rival Grill Makers

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Just weeks after an “opinion” piece from Business Insider declared grilling “overrated” – citing, among other things, the trend toward “vegetarian” and “vegan” meat offerings like the product lineup for erstwhile market darling Beyond Meat – a second grill-maker has filed to go public as the Wall Street deal bonanza that has been raging for more than a year now continues.

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In a year where the overall quality of new listings has plunged based on their market performance, Wall Street is ushering two competing grill makers toward IPOs. Last week, Traeger grills owner TGPX Holdings said it planned to list on the NYSE under the ticker COOK.

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On Monday, Webster Grills, the longtime maker of barbecue grills that can cost well into the four-figure range, filed for a listing of its own, seeking a valuation of between $4 billion and $6 billion. Both firms are planning to list on the NYSE, and both are hoping to raise $100MM (a placeholder amount that could be subject to change depending on demand for the offering).

Traeger reported revenue of $545.8MM and net income of $31.6MM in 2020, versus revenue of $363.3MM and a loss of $29.6MM in 2019. By comparison, more-established Weber reported $963MM in sales in the six months through March, a jump of more than 60% from the same period last year. Its income also rose to $73.8MM from $23.6MM over the same period.

The deals pit two of Wall Street’s biggest investment banking rivals against one another. While Traeger’s IPO is being underwritten by a coterie of investment banks led by Morgan Stanley, Weber’s offering is being led by Goldman Sachs (along with Bank of America and JPM). Morgan Stanley, on the other hand, is being joined by Jefferies, Baird, and William Blair. Weber will list under the somewhat less-flattering symbol WEBR.

Morgan Stanley has taken on the lead underwriter role for Traeger…

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…while Goldman is leading the Weber listing.

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Betting on grill producers makes sense as a pandemic turnaround play, since sales soared during the pandemic. Whatever happens, the retail investors who end up holding the shares will be on the hook.