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Moleskine Goes Public

Love Moleskine notebooks? Now you have a chance to put your money where your heart is.

The company known world-wide for its variety of notebooks for writers and artists is expected to begin trading shares on the Milan stock exchange this week.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that about 106 million shares of Moleskine will be for sale in the IPO at a price of between €2 and €2.65 each.

Moleskine is currently under majority control of private equity firm Syntegra Capital which bought into the company in 2006. Moleskine is valued between €424m and €561m, with about 90 percent of revenue coming from paper products and the rest in accessories and electronic products, according to The Economist.

As part of what it hopes will be a global expansion, Moleskine is broadening its range to include things like iPad covers, writing instruments, apps, bags and niche journals. The company expects to open new stores in Asia and South America following the IPO.

The Atlantic took a look at Moleskine's prospectus and found a few interesting tidbits:

  • Its best seller is the classic hardcover Moleskine notebook.
  • More than half of Moleskine's sales come from Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
  • Only 6 percent of sales occur in Moleskine stores or on the Moleskine website (which is getting an overhaul).

Is the stock worth buying?

The general consensus seems to be 'yes.' The company is profitable, earning nearly €14 a year in profit, selling to about 3.3 million customers. And Moleskine says that is less than 2 percent of its potential customers, meaning there is plenty of room to grow.

And then there's also the little thrill you might get from owning a small piece of one of your favorite notebook makers. Cooler still would be the chance to go to a shareholders meeting where you could stand up and ask why Moleskines can't be made to work with fountain pens.

So what do you think...willing to take a chance on the future of pen and paper?

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