Number Crunch

Why a Cold-Storage Logistics Company Has a Unicorn Valuation

Investors are hot for the business of keeping things cold

$18 billion: That’s the recent valuation of Lineage Logistics, a Novi, Michigan-based company that is now the world’s largest temperature-controlled warehouse and storage firm (as gauged by total space), according to the Wall Street Journal. Sure, Zoom, Robinhood, and Peloton grab a lot more headlines as “pandemic winners.” But private firm Lineage fits the description, too, as the cold-storage business has heated up over the past year.

The reason: The skyrocketing demand for food delivery and online grocery shopping during the pandemic has led to increased demand for cold-storage warehousing. Lineage’s CEO told the Journal that the company expects that demand to continue, and in the past year, Lineage grew its total space through an aggressive 38 acquisitions.

Lineage now controls about 7% of global cold-storage capacity (its closest rival, Americold, has 5.6%) and its value has followed suit. The company recently closed a $1.9 billion funding round — to continue its expansion and invest in new automation technology — backed by hedge fund D1 Capital Partners and real estate funds BentallGreenOak and Oxford Properties Group. Behold: a bona fide supply-chain unicorn.

It’s not as sexy as Clubhouse, but it’s possible that it’s, you know, more important.

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