Is IKEA Publicly Traded?
The easy answer is no, it’s not. However, the reasoning is more complicated. In order to understand the reasoning, it’s necessary to understand why a company would want an IPO, or initial product offering.
Companies go this route mostly either for money or to fulfill obligations. Some may also do so for product recognition. Start-ups are well known for needing extra capitol and having investors is one way of getting it.
Other companies have employees that want to invest in the company, or they have backers that feel the need for stock purchases is necessary. These companies look to the stock market for those purposes.
IKEA doesn’t have that problem. It has plenty of money, so it doesn’t need the added expense and headaches selling shares would offer. Companies that do that have a list of rules that they have to follow.
Those rules include things of having an investor relations department, the financial press, and regulatory burdens. The stock market is heavily regulated in order to prevent events such as those depicted in the 1980s movie Trading Places.
IKEA is a family-owned company. It is run by a trusteeship, which has a board in Delft, Holland. The founder of the company was against the idea of putting the business on the market, and the trustees agree with him.
IKEA doesn’t need extra brand recognition. It is a worldwide phenomenon and a well-recognized brand. It doesn’t need liquidity; it has enough as it is. In fact, it would be very difficult, considering the trusteeship, to change it to a publicly-traded company.
A lot of people have wondered about whether or not IKEA is public; with its sales, think of the possible rewards! However, it is better for the consumer that it isn’t. A publicly traded IKEA might be tempted to set aside its IWAY protocols.
Investors want to see the money. They don’t care about sustainable forestry or making sure employees have healthcare. IKEA does. They don’t care about going zero-landfill use; IKEA has done that at one store in the UK.
Investors don’t care about recycling, children’s safety or any other topic if it comes between them and the bottom line. Whatever it takes to wring the last cent out of a company’s profits is their goal. That is not IKEA’s goal.
IKEA believes that all employees should be treated fairly, be paid the right wage and have access to healthcare. Franchisees that don’t follow those rules find themselves jobless. That belief extends to the suppliers; they have to provide the same benefits.
IKEA cares deeply about the planet and did long before it became the fashionable thing to be. They have policies in place that allow sustainable farming, recycling and vigorous use of renewable resources. This extends to their food court, where the legendary Swedish meatballs have sister balls that are better for the environment.
Is IKEA publicly traded? No, it isn’t. That’s a good thing and hopefully, it never will be.