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When will Wayfair go public?

December 10, 2012: 12:37 PM ET

WebWayfair has all the pieces in place for an IPO. So why isn't it happening?

FORTUNE -- Online home goods retailer Wayfair.com generates over $600 million in annual revenue. It has been around for a decade, and currently employs more than 1,200 people. It has raised over $200 million in venture capital funding, including a new $36 million round announced earlier today.

So when is Wayfair going public?

Niraj Shah, co-founder and CEO of the Boston-based company, insists that there are no plans drawn up for a 2013 offering. Not because the company couldn't pull it off, but because it is not yet the "ideal" time.

Shah's primary sticking point seems to be that Wayfair, as a brand, is actually only one-year old.

The Boston-based company originally launched in 2002 as CSN Stores, and built up a portfolio of around 200 consumer-facing sites. Things like Cookware.com and BedroomFurniture.com. Then last year it consolidated almost everything under the Wayfair brand, save for an upper-end design brand called AllModern.com and a flash sale site called Joss & Main (which is where most of the new $36 million will go). It also raised $165 million in its first-ever round of funding, some of which was a tender offer for early employees with vested stock.

"If you aren't in a rush and you don't need liquidity for your investors, then you look at it and wonder why you should go public when you still don't have much brand awareness and think the story could be so much better in another year or two," Shah explains.

Shah also says that he doesn't really think much about being a public company CEO, or that he dreams of seeing his company listed on a stock exchange. Instead, he says, an IPO is simply the most logical outcome for an e-commerce company of Wayfair's size.

You never know how everything will play out," Shah says, when I ask if Wayfair will remain independent or ultimately be acquired by a company like Amazon (AMZN). "But we're getting to the point where there aren't that many other companies out there that would make sense as an acquirer."

In terms of holiday season sales, Wayfair is having a slightly better season than it had forecast. "It was a little more front-ended from Thanksgiving Day through to Cyber Monday, and I think that five-day run pulled out a bit of later demand," Shah explains, adding that Wayfair has seen a slight uptick over the past several days.

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Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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