A Publicly Traded Vegan Company?

07:13PM Oct 25, 2018
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Beyond Meat, the Los Angeles-based manufacturer of plant-based burgers, is the focus of Wall Street rumors. CNBC and Forbes have noted the start-up with an impressive list of investors, may go public.

According to Forbes, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs are being targeted to lead the deal to take the startup public on Wall Street.

“It’s funny to think of alpha investment bankers, infamous for brash personalities and steak dinners, doing a roadshow touting vegan food,” writes Michael Pellman Rowland in Forbes. “But that’s the world we’re in these days.”

Last December, Beyond Meat raised $55 million in a round of fundraising led by Cleveland Avenue, LLC, a venture capital firm founded by Don Thompson, a former McDonald’s CEO.

"We see Beyond Meat as a strategic and compelling consumer-focused investment," Thompson said at the time. "Customer response to Beyond Meat's great-tasting products has driven its growth, and we're excited about our investment as the brand continues to innovate for the future."

Joining Thompson on the investor list was Tyson Foods, the $38 billion processor of beef, pork and poultry, and which now owns a greater than 5% stake in the plant-based burger company. Tyson says it now has stakes in four food startups that focus on sustainability and technology, and company executives say their core business is protein.

Cargill, Walmart and McDonald's have also made moves to add more plant-based proteins. To date, Beyond Meat says it has sold more than 25 million veggie burgers, and has expanded into Asia and Europe. Such growth has attracted other high-profile investors such as billionaires Bill Gates and Richard Branson, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, and Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams.