In this photo illustration, the new Impossible Whopper sits on a table at a Burger King restaurant on August 8, 2019 in Brooklyn, New York.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Investors are rushing to get a piece of privately held Impossible Foods before it goes public, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Brokers handling transactions in the secondary market told the Journal that investors are jostling to get a piece of the maker of plant-based meats, with some deals that value the company as much as $5 billion. That valuation is still well below rival Beyond Meat’s market value of $9.2 billion.

Since its May initial public offering, Beyond shares have skyrocketed 506% as investors look to get in on the growing market for meat substitutes. Beyond’s stock, which peaked at $234.90 a share on July 26, has struggled with the broader market declines, trade tension and recession fears. 

Beyond’s downward slide started July 30 after it announced a secondary offering at $160 a share that added 3.25 million additional shares up for grabs. It closed at $150.99 Thursday.

Impossible’s CEO Patrick Brown has said on CNBC that it is not the right time for the company to go public.

Both Impossible and Beyond sell products that look and taste like meat but are actually plant based. Their products are meant to appeal to omnivores who are looking to reduce their meat intake. Both have landed deals with fast-food burger chains, which can introduce plant-based meats to new consumers. For example, Burger King rolled out its Impossible Whopper nationwide in August.

In response to growing demand for its meatless meats, Impossible recently struck a deal with OSI Group to boost its production.

Impossible is also planning on launching its products in grocery stores as soon as September after receiving FDA approval for its key ingredient as a color additive. Beyond, which started selling its products first in grocery stores, sees a little more than half of its revenue come from its retail business.

Impossible did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

Read more about investors’ appetite for Impossible Foods here.



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