May 30, 2024

A Viking ocean vessels in Falmouth, England.

A Viking ocean vessels in Falmouth, England.
Photo: Hugh R Hastings (Getty Images)

There’s been a flurry of successful tech IPOs at the start of the year: Reddit, AI startup Astera Labs, consumer rewards app Ibotta, Microsoft-backed Rubrik. But the biggest IPO on the books for 2024 so far is not in Silicon Valley — in fact it’s not even on dry land.

Viking, a luxury cruise line company, raised $1.5 billion dollars in its initial public offering on Wednesday. Its IPO pricing valued Viking at more than $10 billion — putting it behind only Carnival and Royal Caribbean, the two biggest operators in the cruise line industry. Viking’s stock price shot up by about 10% in post-IPO trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Bermuda based company started in 1999 and employs 10,000 staffers around the world. With cruises in the U.S, Middle East, and Europe costing anywhere from $2,000 to $16,000, Viking’s 92 vessels employ a “signature Scandinavian design” to give guests “an elegant and familiar feeling,” the company said in its SEC filing.

“Throughout my career, I have always defined a great company as one that is: loved by its customers, loved by its employees and feared by its competitors,” CEO Torstein Hagen said in the filing. “Becoming a public company will increase our financial flexibility and may help us realize future opportunities.”

But maybe it’s Viking’s financials that should be feared. The company had $5.4 billion in debt and only $1.5 billion in cash as of Dec. 31. It reported a loss of nearly $2 billion for the 2023 calendar year.

Viking has come back from such losses before. It swung to a profit of $400 million in 2022 after reporting a loss of $2 billion the year before.

Behind Viking, Wilson Sporting Goods parent Amer Sports was this year’s second-biggest IPO in the U.S., raising $1.37 billion.

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