While there are benefits for companies that decide to go from private to public, serial investor and entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis said there’s a reason he’s not interested in offering shares of his companies to public investors.
Lemonis, CEO of Camping World Inc. and Good Sam Enterprises LLC, leads more than 6,000 employees in over 100 cities across the United States. The only reason he’d ever want to offer shares in his companies to the public is to give people the opportunity to invest side by side with him, he said.
“If I ever took a business public I wouldn’t want to take the shares off the table,” Lemonis explained. “I don’t want people thinking I’m doing it just to make money and then going to run for the hills. I think that’s a very important distinction.”
It’s not uncommon for founders and early investors of private companies to sell shares during an initial public offering. When Facebook went public in 2012, about 241.2 million shares came from existing stockholders. Founder Mark Zuckerberg sold more than $1.1 billion worth of stock at the time in order to pay taxes.
Just because Lemonis hasn’t decided to take the plunge himself, he said there are benefits to a company going public. Not only does it provide liquidity for the business, it also will ensure there is a succession plan in place, he noted.
“Businesses are going to exist long after you and I are gone so what’s the plan going to be? A public vehicle provides the structure, the discipline and the board structure—it’s just a lot clearer for the business,” said Lemonis, who stars in CNBC’s “The Profit.”
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