First Watch, as it approaches hitting the public sector, said Wednesday it plans to sell roughly 9.5 million shares for $17–$20 each in its initial public offering. If it landed at $18.50, First Watch would generate net proceeds of about $158.6 million—$183.2 million if underwriters decided to buy an additional 1.4 million shares. At $20, it would be closer to $218 million and a valuation in the $1 billion range.
Advent International, which took a majority stake in the 1983-founded concept in 2017, would still own about 79 percent of First Watch after the IPO, assuming exercise of the overallotment option (81 percent if not).
First Watch will list its stock under the symbol FWRG. In a securities filing Wednesday, the company noted there would be 59 million shares outstanding after its IPO (57.6 million if the underwriters elect not to exercise their option), for a market capitalization of around $1.09 billion—at the $18.50 mark.
The company said it would use net proceeds from the offering “to repay borrowings outstanding under our Senior Credit Facilities.” First Watch, per filings, has $294 million in debt, with assets of $1.033 billion. In Q2, the chain produced adjusted EBITDA of $35.2 million. First Watch posted same-store sales growth of 16.3 percent in the period, which ended June 27, relative to the same stretch in 2019. Traffic climbed 1 percent.
It also managed to open 42 and 18 restaurants in fiscal 2020 and the 26-week period that closed June 27, respectively. Recent openings are generating annualized average sales of $2 million as well, above the fleet average of $1.7 million.
The 423-unit brand, which said earlier in the year it plans to reach 2,200 domestic stores, had just 60 locations in 2006.
First Watch would become the third restaurant company to go public in recent months, joining Krispy Kreme and Dutch Bros, the latter of which soared past expectations recently and opened on the stock market at $32 per share—41 percent above the IPO price. It would be the first full-service chain to do so since Kura Sushi in 2019.