On, the Zurich-based sports brand backed by Roger Federer, publicly denied a report in a Swiss newspaper last July that it was planning to go public in 2021. Citing a source close to the matter, Reuters reported again on April 30 that On was making preparations for an initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S. that will probably take place in the autumn, adding that it could value the company at between $4 billion and $6 billion. This time, On’s management said it would not comment on such media reports.
The company continues to be tip-lipped about its financial performance. It has simply said that more than 7 million people in more than 50 countries have worn its shoes and that its sales have been more or less doubling each year since it was founded in 2010. The past year was an exception, but this didn’t prevent one of its shoes, the Cloud, to be the best-seller in running in Germany, according to NPD.
On was founded in January 2010 by a former professional triathlete, Olivier Bernhard, and his friends, David Allemann and Caspar Coppetti. The latter, who has a background with McKinsey and Ernst & Young, is the company’s CEO. After developing dozens of prototypes, fully engineered in Switzerland, the brand’s launch revolved around a proprietary cushioning technology for its running shoes, designed for soft landings followed by explosive take-offs, as described by the company.
In November 2019, Federer joined On as a shareholder and a brand ambassador. The Swiss tennis legend, who had been previously been sponsored by Nike, said he would contribute his experience for the development of the brand’s products, marketing and fan experiences. Shortly afterwards, On launched its first tennis-inspired sneaker, called The Roger. It also launched an interesting subscription program for recyclable shoes.
In addition to its European headquarters in Zürich, the company has offices in the U.S., Japan, Australia and Brazil. Last December, On opened its first flagship store in New York.
If it goes for an IPO, which would help support its growth and its possible diversification into apparel and other categories, the company would probably announce the move in September or October. According to Reuters, it is currently working on the IPO project with JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Mongan Stanley and Credit Suisse.