Sovos goes public with lower-priced IPO, still valued at $1B+

LOUISVILLE — Sovos Brands Inc. (Nasdaq: SOVO), a formerly California-based food-brand company that recently planted its headquarters flag in Louisville, began publicly trading Thursday after an initial public offering priced at $12.

That’s lower than the previously expected share price of $14 to $15, but the company still raised $280 million on 23.33 million shares sold. Underwriters have a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 3,500,100 shares at the initial public offering price.

Sovos’ valuation was about $1.17 billion at the time of the IPO, qualifying it for unicorn status. Unicorns are startup companies that achieve valuations of more than $1 billion.

The company’s stock price shot up more than 20% in early trading Thursday before coming back to earth a bit during the afternoon. Sovos finished its first trading day up 12.67% at $13.52.

Proceeds raised from the IPO will be used to repay outstanding borrowings under its credit facilities and for general corporate purposes, Sovos said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing this month.

Sovos also plans to “pursue more acquisitions of disruptive growth brands,” the SEC filing said.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE:GS) acted as joint lead book-running managers for the offering. 

Founded in 2017, Sovos made headlines locally in 2018 when it bought Bellvue-based Noosa Yoghurt LLC and again in 2020 when it absorbed Denver waffle mix maker Birch Benders LLC.

Since those acquisitions, the company has relocated its headquarters to Louisville, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Colorado Secretary of State.

In addition to Noosa and Birch Blenders, Sovos, a private-equity-backed company, owns Rao’s Homemade Sauce and Michael Angelo’s frozen italian meals. 

Sovos has manufacturing locations in Austin, Texas, and Bellvue.

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