Ronco, Maker Of Veg-O-Matic & Mr. Microphone, Giving Away Rotisserie Ovens To Investors

For half a century, Ronco products — like the Veg-O-Matic, the Beef Jerky Machine, and Mr. Microphone — have been filling cheap, late-night and mid-afternoon commercial space on American TVs. Now the company that introduced “But wait — there’s more!” to the world is hoping it can sell the public on investing in the company by offering discounts and free stuff as rewards.

Ronco Brands Inc. says it filed IPO documents [PDF] with the Securities and Exchange Company last week outlining its plans to raise $30 million by selling five million shares. There’s a minimum investment of $120, which, at $6 per share, will get you 20 shares of the company.

Spend more than $1,000 on shares and you’ll also get a one-time 20% discount on purchases. If you’re willing to spend more than $5,000, Ronco will throw in a countertop rotisserie oven.

“We have millions of satisfied customers out there,” William Moore, Ronco’s president since 2011, tells The Wall Street Journal. “We are asking them to join us with another vote of confidence in the future of Ronco Brands.”

Ronco has had several owners since founder Ron Popeil first appeared on TV in 1964, filing for bankruptcy in 2007 and going through two more owners before it was bought by its current owners in 2011.

And despite the fact that the company says it has sold more then $2 billion worth of gadgets since then, it’s not much of a moneymaker, the WSJ points out, with a net loss of $2.7 million in the first half of 2016.

Add in an accumulated deficit of $32.2 million and about $17 million in debt, some auditors have “raised substantial doubt” about whether Ronco can stay afloat.

But Moore tells the WSJ that the company’s $110 million valuation is right on the money — citing Ronco’s investment bankers — and that those auditor warnings are “pretty standard stuff… in an environment where you are losing money.”

Ronco now has six months to complete the offering.

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