May 2, 2019 / 12:02 AM / 22 days ago

Vegan burger company Beyond Meat's IPO sizzles with $25 share price

(Reuters) - Vegan burger maker Beyond Meat Inc, which counts Microsoft founder Bill Gates and actor Leonardo DiCaprio among its investors, on Wednesday priced its initial public stock offering at $25 per share, the top of its anticipated range in a reflection of brisk investor demand.

At this price, Beyond Meat raised around $240 million at a $1.5 billion valuation, including underwriters’ options.

Plant-based meat substitutes have been gaining popularity as more attention is focused on the environmental hazards of industrial ranching.

The Los Angeles-based company in early January announced it was rolling out its plant-based burger at fast-food chain Carl’s Jr. The company starts trading on the Nasdaq on Thursday with the symbol.

The company had raised its price target range from $19 to $21 a share on Tuesday to $23 to $25, suggesting strong investor demand. It also increased the number of shares it was offering by 10 percent.

Tyson Foods Inc, the no. 1 U.S. meat processor, owned a 6.5 percent stake in Beyond Meat but last week sold its investment in the company since it decided to develop its own line of alternative protein products

Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Additional Reporting by Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler and Cynthia Osterman

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