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Water brand Liquid Death explores IPO, with CEO 'open' to all paths

Yahoo Finance US 10/29/2022 Brooke DiPalma

Opportunities for the water brand Liquid Death are pouring in, according to CEO Mike Cessario. 

In early October, the still and sparking water brand raised $70 million in its Series D funding round led by Science Ventures, bringing it to a $700 million valuation. Cessario told Yahoo Finance in a recent interview that Liquid Death is "open to all kinds of different paths for the company," though he has no particular timeline in mind.

"I think an IPO path is something we're definitely going to seriously explore and see what that looks like. There's no timeline for when that would be or if we would definitely do it or not, but something we're going to take a look at. Same thing for remaining private, same thing for potential M&A. I think the company is just growing so fast, and growth is just continuing to move even faster, and we're going to take that into consideration when we think of what the next kind of move is," he said.

The brand calls itself "a funny water company who hates corporate marketing as much as you do," hence the untraditional name with an "evil mission" to make consumers laugh, drink water more often, "all while helping to kill plastic pollution," by drinking from a can, according to Liquid Death's website.

Beginning with only canned Mountain Water back in 2019, the brand recently expanded its offerings to include unflavored and flavored sparkling beverages with names true to the brand's dark humor: Mango Chainsaw, Severed Lime, and Berry It Live. 

(Courtesy: Liquid Death) © Provided by Yahoo Finance US (Courtesy: Liquid Death)

In 2022, Liquid Death is on track to hit $130 million in revenue and is expected to double that in 2023. Last year, the brand hit $45 million in revenue. The company says the addition of the new flavors prompted an an increase of 40% in new online revenue after six months on the market. 

In a direct-to-wholesale model, the cans retail anywhere from roughly $15 to $21 for what the brand calls a Tallboy 12-pack, but ultimately the retailers choose the price tag. Currently, the cans are available on Amazon and in stores including 7-Eleven, Albertsons, Kroger, Publix, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Target, Walmart and Whole Foods, among other locations.

As the cost of non-alcoholic beverages rises — up 0.6% month-over-month and 12.9% year-over-year —Liquid Death plans to keep its premium pricing staying in line with competitors.

"At the end of the day, as long as we are somewhere in the range of other premium products, we're going to be fine. It's a dollar more, is it a dollar less, people aren't buying Liquid Death because it's the best priced thing, it's a brand play and when you have a true brand, you have a little bit more pricing elasticity than when you're just a brand that's purely focused on, well, we're cheaper, so that's why we win," Cessario said.

The canned beverage company has more than 2.9 million followers on TikTok and has garnered the attention of celebrities Wiz Khalifia, Martha Stewart, and Tony Hawk — and even some parents.

"We have hundreds of parents who have reached out on socials saying, 'Thank you, finally, my nine-year-old is excited to drink water instead of soda, just because of the format and it feels like something cool or that he's not supposed to have.'"

Brooke DiPalma is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at bdipalma@yahoofinance.com.

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