Jammin Java Corp., doing business as Marley Coffee, has entered into a strategic investment transaction with Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee, Inc., for a total of up to $8.25 million in funding.
The family-owned, Ontario, Canada-based Mother Parkers is a large independent roaster in North America. The company produces Marley Coffee in its innovative RealCup™ single-serve capsules, which are designed for use with K-Cup® compatible brewers and feature a patented non-woven filter for superior taste in the cup. Mother Parkers is also Marley Coffee's Canadian foodservice provider and brings Marley Coffee to market into key retail accounts across Canada.
Under the terms of the agreement, Mother Parkers will acquire 7,333,529 units at $0.3409 per unit (each consisting of one share of common stock and one warrant to purchase one share of common stock) for $2.5 million, which represents an approximately seven percent interest (before the exercise of the warrants) in Marley Coffee. Marley Coffee may receive up to an additional $3.75 million upon the exercise of warrants (sold as part of the units). In addition, Mother Parkers will provide Marley Coffee $2 million of marketing and brand promotion funding.
Marley Coffee Chairman and Founder Rohan Marley said in a prepared statement, "I'm very proud of how much growth in grocery store product placement our company has seen in the last 18 months. The next key phase of our expansion is to consistently reinforce the quality of our brand to consumers and help increase product turn. The lion's share of this cash infusion from Mother Parkers will go toward the latter, and unlike previous investments we have had from previous investors, this is the most strategic investment to date because it aligns both companies' long-term interests and provides a vehicle for both corporate and shareholder growth."
Mother Parkers also intends to provide an investment of $2 million in marketing funds toward the Marley Coffee brand over the course of the next two years. Some of these funds have already been deployed in initiatives such as the Marley Coffee partnership with the Colorado Rockies baseball team, and toward listing fees in the Canadian retail grocery market. The remainder of the funding is expected to be utilized in various innovative marketing strategies to promote the brand in the U.S. and Canada in an effort to drive consumer sales.
"Marley Coffee is a powerful brand and is a great addition to our company's portfolio as a premium offering for our customers throughout North America," said Michael Higgins, co-CEO of Mother Parkers, who continued, "Our multi-tiered investment reflects our confidence in Marley Coffee and its management team. We look forward to a collaboration that will benefit both companies, as well as consumers who want great quality and freedom of choice in their coffee experience." As a result of the transaction, Mother Parkers will also receive a seat on the to-be-formed board of advisors of Marley Coffee to help shape the company's growth.
Additionally, Rohan Marley will be appointed lead ambassador for WaterWise, Mother Parkers' leading environmental sustainability project.
WaterWise seeks to improve the living conditions and water filtration systems for those living in the Sidamo area of Ethiopia, a coffee growing region from which Marley Coffee sources its high-quality coffee beans. Marley Coffee, in conjunction with Mother Parkers, will donate $0.01 to WaterWise for every Marley Coffee RealCup capsule sold over the next three years, which adds to Mother Parkers' ongoing investment of more than $1 million.
"Water is a fundamental crisis issue of the 21st century that affects many people in Ethiopia, a place with significant ties to myself and the Marley Family," said Marley. "Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, Rastafarian culture and humanity itself, and we are proud to provide a better quality of life for the people who supply our coffee through the WaterWise project. When our customers purchase a 12-pack of RealCups at their local grocery store, they will know that $0.12 will be going directly to WaterWise."
The WaterWise Project bolsters Marley Coffee and Mother Parkers' numerous environmental initiatives, including the development of Mother Parkers' recently launched EcoCup™, a breakthrough recyclable capsule that is compatible with all K-Cup brewers. EcoCup™ has launched in early April with loose leaf tea and is expected to be available with Marley Coffee in 2015.
Brent Toevs, CEO of Marley Coffee, said, "We could have gone with other single-serve platforms, but we decided to expand our relationship with Mother Parkers because we believe in the partnership, their technology and the quality of the coffee that comes from the RealCup™ system. With Mother Parkers, we won't get lost in the shuffle of other brands, and we are more confident in our path to becoming the premium brand leader in the marketplace." He added, "We support an open brew philosophy, meaning, an open single-serve format that gives customers better options in the marketplace in terms of price and quality. We're proud to have a partner who truly believes in our brand, standards of quality, and is continuously pushing the limits of what can be achieved in the single-serve format."