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Gun-themed Black Rifle Coffee stock will be publicly traded after SPAC deal with SBEA

The ‘Starbucks of the Right’ says it will combine with a blank-check company called SilverBox Engaged Merger Corp.

Gun-themed Black Rifle Coffee stock will be publicly traded after SPAC deal with SBEA
[Source Images: Negative Space/Pexels; Specna Arms/Pexels]

Black Rifle Coffee Company—”Starbucks of the right,” as the New York Times once dubbed it—will be the latest business to go public via a SPAC deal. The Utah-based brand, which (despite its founder’s mild protests) is often labeled  the unofficial coffee of #MAGA, announced it will latch itself onto a blank-check company called SilverBox Engaged Merger Corp. This particular SPAC went public earlier this year, and the merger will supposedly hand Black Rifle $545 million in total available capital. The new company will reportedly be valued at around $1.7 billion.

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SilverBox’s shares haven’t seen a meme-stock bump yet, but they did climb a record amount on the news—almost 60% in early trading, reaching a high of $15.50.

Black Rifle founder Evan Hafer is a former Green Beret who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The company argues it markets its firearm-themed coffees (AK-47 Espresso Blend, Silencer Smooth Roast) to veterans and first responders, not right-wing extremists, but that’s hardly stopped the controversies. It publishes a magazine called Coffee or Die, sells a Thin Blue Line series of bagged coffees, and vowed to hire 10,000 veterans in 2017 after Starbucks responded to President Trump’s refugee ban by promising to hire 10,000 refugees. In what would probably be a death knell for some brands, Kyle Rittenhouse, the Wisconsin Black Lives Matter protest shooter, was photographed last year wearing a Black Rifle T-shirt.

Most revenue comes from online sales, but it also has a growing handful of stores in states like Texas, and its coffee is sold in stores like Walmart. Hafer tells the Wall Street Journal that he believes sales will grow by 40% to $230 million this year. He also says he hopes to use the new capital to keep Black Rifle focused on veterans’ issues, not one particular political party. The company has hired about 300 veterans since 2017, but in the press release announcing the SPAC deal, Hafer argues this merger “will provide the capital BRCC needs to grow, serve great coffee, and move us closer to our goal of hiring 10,000 veterans as we open more stores nationwide.”

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