Long Island Iced Tea skyrockets after renaming itself Long Blockchain

(Reuters) - Beverage maker Long Island Iced Tea Corp's LTEA.O shares jumped nearly 300 percent on Thursday after the company said it would rebrand itself Long Blockchain Corp, the latest U.S. firm to tap into the frenzy surrounding crypto currencies.

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 percent at $7.25.

The surge in the company’s stock price lifted its market capitalization to as much as $92.6 million from $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blockchain, a previously filed offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission for up to $10 million in stock was withdrawn.

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

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

Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru, Chuck Mikolajczak and April Joyner in New York; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Cynthia Osterman