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Basch Report
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jan. 21, 202105:10 AM EST

Timing right as Dream Finders Homes IPO hits market

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Homebuilders are outperforming the overall stock market.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Dream Finders Homes Inc.’s stock begins trading on Jan. 21 and the timing couldn’t be better.

The Jacksonville-based homebuilder’s initial public offering of 9.6 million Class A shares was priced at $13 each late Jan. 20, clearing the way for trading to begin on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

Not only is Dream Finders selling its stock in a strong market for its industry, but IPOs in general have been surging.

Dream Finders Homes founder and President Patrick Zalupski will retain control of his company after the initial public offering.

Major stock market indexes have reached record highs recently but stocks of homebuilders are doing even better than the overall market.

The S&P Homebuilders Select Industry Index was up 27.7% over the 12 months through last weekend, beating the S&P 500 return of 17.6%.

Meanwhile, the Renaissance IPO Index was up 114.6% over the last 12 months.

That index created by IPO research firm Renaissance Capital consists of newly listed public companies that are not yet included in other stock indexes.

Dream Finders may also benefit from a strong group of underwriters, including BofA Securities. Investing website Seeking Alpha reported last week that IPOs led by BofA over the last 12 months have produced an average return of 105.2%.

The IPO was priced toward the lower end of Dream Finders’ hoped-for range. The company last week said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing it was seeking to sell its shares at $12 to $15 each.

The company said it will receive gross proceeds of $124.8 million from the stock sale. It could receive more if its underwriters exercise an option to purchase up to 1.44 million additional shares.

The IPO is structured for Dream Finders founder and President Patrick Zalupski to retain control of the company by owning all of the company’s Class B stock. That will give him 85.4% of the votes on company matters, according to the company's registration statement.

The stock will trade under the ticker symbol “DFH.”

Southeastern Grocers IPO date not on calendar

Those same websites do not have an expected date for Southeastern Grocers Inc. on their IPO calendars.

Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers, parent of Winn-Dixie and three other supermarket chains, filed an updated registration statement for its IPO last week. 

However, the statement still did not include any details on how much stock will be sold. That indicates completion of the IPO is not imminent.

Southeastern Grocers filed a confidential registration statement for its IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission in September and filed its first public statement Oct. 19.

Southeastern Grocers’ peer group is lagging behind the rest of the market in the past year. The Dow Jones U.S. Food Retail & Wholesale Index is up about 13% over the last 12 months.

Marker Therapeutics completes plant

Marker Therapeutics Inc. appears closer to getting a product on the market, announcing last week it completed the construction of its manufacturing facility in Houston.

Marker is developing immunotherapies to treat cancers and has not had any products for sale. The company’s only revenue in the first nine months of 2020 was $466,785 in grant income.

The company formerly was known as TapImmune and headquartered in Jacksonville before moving to Houston in 2019 after a merger.

Marker’s therapies still are in trial stages and the company has not said when it will have a commercial product, but it said it expects the manufacturing facility to be fully operational in the first half of this year.

Ulta Beauty lays off corporate staff

Ulta Beauty Inc., which opened a fast fulfillment center in Jacksonville last year, laid off an unspecified number of corporate and field management employees last week, according to several news reports.

A spokeswoman for the Bolingbrook, Illinois-based company told the Chicago Tribune it laid off a “meaningful but relatively small” number of workers.

The company had about 18,000 full-time employees when it filed its annual report last year.

Ulta Beauty opened its fulfillment center in Northwest Jacksonville in the quarter ended Oct. 31. The company said it accelerated the opening of that facility in response to strong e-commerce sales.

Legislation approved by the Jacksonville City Council for $1.425 million in incentives said the company would create 30 full-time jobs. The company also expected to fill an unspecified number of warehouse jobs.

Although e-commerce business is increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ulta Beauty reported a 7.8% drop in sales to $1.6 billion in the third quarter ended Oct. 31.

Ulta operated 1,262 stores at the end of the third quarter.

Ex-Rayonier AM CFO Ruperto joins Toronto company

Former Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc. Chief Financial Officer Frank Ruperto joined a Toronto-based company last week as CFO.

Element Fleet Management Corp., which provides automotive fleet services, announced Jan. 13 that Ruperto was succeeding its retiring CFO.

The previous day, Rayonier AM announced Ruperto was leaving to pursue other opportunities but it gave no details.

Ruperto served as CFO of Jacksonville-based Rayonier AM from November 2014 through June 2019, when he was named senior vice president for its high purity and high yield cellulose business.

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