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Digital currencies

Shares of Long Island Iced Tea soar after renaming itself Long Blockchain in cryptocurrency mania

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 December, 2017, 4:27am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 December, 2017, 4:32am

Beverage maker Long Island Iced Tea Corp’s shares jumped nearly 300 per cent on Thursday after the company said it would rebrand itself Long Blockchain Corp, the latest US firm to tap into the frenzy surrounding cryptocurrencies.

Long Island Ice Tea said it was shifting its primary business strategy to blockchain technology and was in the preliminary stages of evaluating specific opportunities to grow that business.

The company said it would still continue to operate its beverage business, under which it sells Long Island iced tea and Long Island lemonade.

Shares were last up 197.1 per cent at US$7.25.

The surge in the company’s stock price lifted its market capitalisation to as much as US$92.6 million from US$23.8 million as of Wednesday’s close.

“There’s been a continued surge of crypto headlines. It’s gotten more worrisome as more companies have changed their names. It’s the kind of stuff you saw back in the dot-com era,” said Michael Antonelli, managing director at Robert W Baird in Milwaukee.

As part of the company’s pivot to blockchain, a previously filed offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission for up to US$10 million in stock was withdrawn.

Several other small US firms in recent weeks have reshaped their business models to capitalise on the craze for blockchain technology, which supports cryptocurrency.

Earlier in the day, furniture maker Nova Lifestyle’s shares also jumped after it said it would create a unit focusing on blockchain. Diagnostic company Bioptix’s shares soared 400 per cent after it changed its name to Riot Blockchain in October.