Black Rifle Coffee, a veteran-owned coffee company, announced on Tuesday that it is going public in a deal with the special acquisition company SPAC SilverBox Engaged Merger Corp. I.
The deal is valued at about $1.7 billion, the companies said, according to The Wall Street Journal. Former Green Beret Evan Hafer launched Black Rifle Coffee in 2014 as a veteran-centered business committed to shedding light on veterans’ issues and aiding the veteran community.
Hafer announced the deal on Fox Business on Tuesday morning in an interview with host Maria Bartiromo. Hafer said that the merger, expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022, is about furthering the veteran-focused mission of the company.
“Timing was really important in being able to take the company public, or at least position the company to go public. Silver Box was the right partner,” Hafer said. “What we wanted to do was curate a relationship with somebody that had the same mission and intent and the commitment to the veteran community, so they’ve been able to come to the table and commit shares as part of the deal to the Black Rifle Coffee fund, which is our nonprofit section of the business.”
“I think being able to partner with somebody right now with the timing of this, as far as being able to capture market inertia and seize the opportunity to grow the company and maintain our commitment to hiring 10,000 veterans because we set up with that goal four years ago, I said it on your show. I’ve never strayed from that mission or that focus and this is just part of completing our promise to the American public and that’s our commitment,” he added.
In 2017, Hafer pledged to hire 10,000 veterans. Hafer’s pledge was in part a reaction to Starbucks, which promised to hire 10,000 refugees after then-President Donald Trump froze immigration from a group of predominantly Muslim countries over concerns of the U.S. vetting process for immigrants and refugees.
Hafer’s company is made up of about 600 employees, with roughly half of those military veterans. Bartiromo asked him on Tuesday what veterans bring to businesses that other employees generally cannot. Hafer responded:
Veterans are, especially the post 9-11, the younger generation of veterans right now that are underemployed at a much higher rate throughout the United States, they bring a complex problem-solving and split-decision making matrix that, I think, most of the civilian population might not understand. They’ve been put in some of the most dynamic, complex, and dangerous problems in the world. They’ve been able to solve those at a very high level. They’ve got a lot to offer the professional workplace and the American professional workplace.
My job is to not only inspire and entertain people through media, it’s also to lead the rest of corporate America to say, we can do a better job of hiring veterans. We can do a better job of putting the spotlight on veteran unemployment. We can do a better job of taking care of the people who have continued to serve and sacrifice overseas to include not only the veterans, but veteran families. So this is a really important step for me to be able to go out and use the podium and the platform of Black Rifle Coffee to shed the light on veterans’ issues, hire veterans, and create a culture that is truly authentic to the veteran way of life.