GRANTS PASS — Dutch Bros, the drive-thru chain of coffee stands based in Grants Pass, says it has filed for an initial public offering after years of rapid growth. It could be Oregon’s first major IPO since 2004.
Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, reported last month that the chain hoped a prospective stock offering would give it a $3 billion market value. That could make it the biggest IPO in Oregon history.
Founded in 1992, Dutch Bros now operates nearly 470 stores in 11 states, stretching from Seattle to San Antonio, where the franchise chain is in the process of opening its newest location. It employs about 13,000 altogether.
Dutch Bros reported in 2018 that it had sold an unspecified stake in the business to a private equity firm, TSG Consumer Products. At the time, Dutch Bros said it hoped to use “TSG’s expertise and resources” to grow to 800 locations in five years.
Grants Pass natives Travis and Dane Boersma founded the business together after growing up on a family dairy farm. Dane Boersma was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2005 and died in 2009.
The company filed for its IPO confidentially, meaning it has started the regulatory process of going public but isn’t ready to disclose financial results and other corporate information required of public companies.
While Oregon’s population and incomes have expanded rapidly in recent years, the state hasn’t produced any large, homegrown companies in decades. The state lacks the concentration of investment funds and research universities that have spawned successive generations of businesses in the Bay Area and Seattle.
Instead, Oregon has become a low-cost outpost for large companies based in other states. Intel, Amazon and others have substantially expanded their Oregon workforces while older Oregon businesses, among them Mentor Graphics and FEI Co., have sold to larger companies elsewhere.
The state’s last major IPOs were 17 years ago, when Cascade Microtech and McCormick & Schmick’s went public. McCormick & Schmick’s sold in 2011, Cascade Microtech in 2016.
A succession of relatively small Oregon companies have sold stock to the public in subsequent years with mixed results, among them Erickson Air Crane, Laird Superfood and electric vehicle manufacturer Arcimoto.
A Wilsonville battery innovator, ESS Tech, plans to go public in September by merging with an investment fund in a deal valued at $1.1 billion.
And in Clark County, laser manufacturer nLight went public in 2018 and Vancouver marketing data company ZoomInfo raised more than $900 million last year.
Portland software company Puppet has raised the possibility it might hold an IPO this year, and vacation rental manager Vacasa has suggested that an IPO is in its plans, too.