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Black Rifle Coffee Aims to Go Public in $1.7B SPAC Merger

Veteran-focused Black Rifle Coffee Co. is preparing to go public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger that would value Black Rifle at $1.7 billion.

As The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday (Nov. 2), the company says the SPAC will allow it to fulfill its promise to hire more veterans.

Founded in 2014 by former Green Beret Evan Hafer, Black Rifle is known for its high-end coffee, firearm-themed products and popularity among veterans and first responders.

In 2017, after Starbucks promised to hire 10,000 refugees in the wake of then-President Trump’s order barring refugees from entering the country, Hafer made a similar promise: Black Rifle would hire just as many U.S. military veterans.

Right now, about half of the Salt Lake City-based company’s workers are veterans, but Hafer said that number will grow following the SPAC.

“This just reaffirms my commitment to that promise,” he told the Journal.

Black Rifle says it expects sales to grow by about 40% this year to around $230 million. Most of that revenue comes from eCommerce sales, although Black Rifle has seven physical stores and sells through larger outlets like Walmart.

Read more: Coffee Companies Perk up at Opportunity to Break Big on Public Market Following Dutch Bros.’ IPO Success

With the SPAC, Black Rifle plans to reorganize to become a public-benefit corporation, which means it will have duties to both its shareholders and to provide a public good.

“We want to do well for ourselves and do good for our community,” said Joe Reece, the SPAC’s executive chairman.

The Journal report says Black Rifle will raise $100 million in a private investment in public equity, or PIPE, with the hedge fund Engaged Capital putting up another $100 million.

Black Rifle’s SPAC is part of a wave of coffee companies going public. Following the Dutch Brothers successful IPO earlier this year, Manner Coffee, a Chinese coffee chain based in Shanghai, said it was considering going public via IPO in Hong Kong, looking to raise at least $300 million.

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