Wayfair

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Commerce


Wayfair, the online home goods company that built its business for nearly a decade with no outside funding, is planning to go public, according to paperwork filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company said it is looking to raise up to $350 million in the offering.

The Boston-based company operates several e-commerce websites — among them Wayfair.com, AllModern.com and Joss & Main — that sell furniture and other home goods, sometimes in limited-time offerings known as flash sales.

The company recorded a net loss of $15.5 million on $916 million in revenue last year.

In the first six months of 2014, revenue grew 50 percent to $574 million from $383 million in the same period last year. But the company’s net loss grew too, from $8.3 million in the first six months of 2013 to $51.4 million in the first six months of 2014. The company said its net loss results were driven mainly by increased advertising expenses as the company pushed to build brand awareness.

Founded in 2002 as CSN Stores by CEO Niraj Shah and CTO Steve Conine, the company grew to around 200 sites before consolidating under the Wayfair brand in 2011. That same year, the company raised $165 million in venture capital from Battery Ventures and others to help it through the transition, which included an initial loss of web traffic, and to market the new brand. Since then, the company has raised nearly another $200 million, including a $157 million round in March led by public markets investor T. Rowe Price.

Despite the consolidation, Wayfair has slowly started to expand the number of websites it operates once again. A year ago, it acquired furniture retailer DwellStudio, in part to help it create new brands. This year, it did just that, introducing a new home furnishings site called Birch Lane.

“We plan to continue expanding our existing brand portfolio and may opportunistically launch new brands,” the company said in the filing.

Wayfair’s filing comes less than a year after e-commerce site Zulily, which focuses on the flash sale model more than Wayfair does, went public at a valuation of $2.6 billion. Zulily, which mostly sells clothing for women and children, now has a market cap of $4.8 billion.

When the public offering happens, Wayfair will become one of the few consumer-facing companies based in the Boston area to IPO in recent years. Others in the group include Kayak (which has since sold to Priceline), TripAdvisor and Care.com.

The company’s two co-founders each own 29 percent stakes in the company. Great Hill Partners owns 11.4 percent, HarbourVest Partners owns seven percent and Battery Ventures holds six percent.

Goldman Sachs is the lead underwriter on the deal. Wayfair has also hired Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and Allen & Company to assist on the offering. Latham & Watkins is the law firm representing Wayfair; Ropes & Gray is representing the underwriters.



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