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Westrock Coffee to go public through $1.1 bln SPAC deal

·1 min read

April 4 (Reuters) - Westrock Coffee said on Monday it plans to list in the United States by merging with a blank-check company, valuing the combined entity at $1.09 billion including debt.

The Arkansas-based company plans to combine with Riverview Acquisition Corp. The special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) raised $250 million in an initial public offering in August last year to target consumer companies.

A SPAC typically sells shares at $10 apiece, puts the cash in a trust account and then searches for a company to buy, taking it public through a merger by sidestepping a traditional IPO. Its shareholders can choose to redeem their shares in return for cash.

The transaction includes $250 million in common stock private placement in public equity (PIPE) commitments from NFC Investments, Westrock and Riverview founders and funds managed by Southeastern Asset Management, among others.

Led by chief executive officer and co-founder Scott Ford, Westrock supplies coffee and tea products to restaurants and convenience stores.

Westrock's decision to go public comes at a time when a number of companies scrapped their agreements with SPACs, including telecom services firm Syniverse Technologies, 3D printing firm Essentium Inc and travel technology platform HotelPlanner.

Dealmaking in the SPAC market has been stifled by tightening regulatory scrutiny and high investor redemptions.

Stifel and Wells Fargo will serve as financial advisors to Westrock. The deal is expected to close by the end of the third quarter, after which the combined company will list on the Nasdaq under the symbol "WEST".

(Reporting by Mehnaz Yasmin in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)