Is L.L. Bean a Public Company?

Last Updated on 05/11/2021 by GS Staff


Can You Purchase L.L. Bean Stock?

L.L. Bean is not a public company. Since it is private, you cannot buy shares of its stock through a broker.

Will L.L. Bean Ever Be Public?

The company has been in business since 1912 and has only recently hired outside for a CEO. This was Stephen Smith who was hired in 2015 to replace the former CEO, Chris McCormick, who stepped down from the position. While McCormick wasn’t related to the Bean family, he was employed by L.L. Bean for approximately 10 years before being selected CEO. He held this position for 14 years. Prior to McCormick, members of the Bean family headed the company in the CEO role. Shawn Gorman, the current chairman, is a great-grandson of the founder.

While the past does not dictate the future, there is a long history of L.L. Bean keeping business matters close to home and within the family. We expect the company to maintain being private for the foreseeable and to keep the status quo. However, the hiring of the current CEO from the outside is a sign of the potential willingness of the company to listen to outside voices. Is it possible the company will someday opt to go public or allow itself to be acquired? Only time will tell.

If the company were to be purchased, we agree with Maks F.S. in his article on L.L. Bean stating that it makes sense for a V.F. Corp [NYSE: VFC] or a similar-sized company to potentially acquire L.L. Bean. V.F. Corp is the parent company behind such brands as Vans, JanSport, Timberland, The North Face, and others.

Publicly Traded Competitors of L.L. Bean

Since you cannot buy L.L. Bean stock, here are a few public competitors whose shares can be purchased:

  • Columbia [NASDAQ: COLM] – The popular outerwear and outdoor equipment company was launched in 1938. The company is not only behind the Columbia brands but also prAna, Mountain Hardwear, and Sorel. The brands are available in about 90 countries.
  • VF Corporation [NYSE: VFC] – VF Corporation was founded in 1899 as a glove and mitten company. Many of its businesses specialize in producing clothing and equipment for active or outdoor lifestyles. Its outdoor brands include Altra, Icebreaker, Smartwool, The North Face, and Timberland.
  • Newell Brands [NYSE: NWL] – Newell is an extremely diversified company when it comes to its brands. It owns Elmer’s, Sharpie, Crock-Pot, Yankee Candle, and several other notable brands. Its outdoor and recreation category of brands includes Coleman (outdoor products), Contigo (beverageware), and Marmot (outdoor gear).
  • Wolverine Worldwide [NYSE: WWW] – The company owns several popular brands such as Keds, Saucony, Sperry, and Stride Rite Children’s Group. However, the brand that competes most closely with L.L. Bean is likely Merrell. Wolverine Worldwide sells products in over 200 countries and has been in business since 1883.
  • Canada Goose Holdings [NYSE: GOOS] – Canada Goose specializes in making high-end winter clothing such as gloves, jackets, hats, and similar apparel. It is a Canadian company that was founded in 1957. It trades on the TSX and NYSE under GOOS.

You’ll notice Patagonia missing from the above list which also competes will L.L. Bean. Patagonia is a private company similar to L.L. Bean.


Sources:
Sharp, David. “APNewsBreak: 1st ‘Outsider’ to Lead Retailer LL Bean.” The Seattle Times, 3 Nov. 2015, www.seattletimes.com/business/apnewsbreak-1st-outsider-to-lead-retailer-ll-bean.

Image Credit – Stephanie/flickr