Coca-Cola is shelling out $5.6 billion to acquire full ownership of BodyArmour, a rival to Gatorade, the companies said on Monday.
The beverage giant already owned 30 percent of the New York City-based sports drink brand, in which the late NBA star Kobe Bryant had been an early investor.
Bryant invested $6 million in the brand and his estate could now collect $200 million, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
“If it wasn’t for Kobe Bryant’s vision and belief, BodyArmor would not have been able to achieve the success we had,” said co-founder Mike Repole. “I couldn’t be more excited to become part of the Coca-Cola family and set our sights on the future.”
It’s the second beverage Repole sold to Coca-Cola, which acquired Glaceau — the maker of Vitaminwater — for $4.1 billion in 2007.
Coca-Cola first invested in BodyArmour in 2018, taking 15 percent stake in the company, which generated sales of $250 million at the time, according to The Journal.
BodyArmor also has endorsement deals with baseball player Mike Trout and another NBA star, James Harden.
“BodyArmor has been a great addition to the system lineup over the last three years, and the company has driven continuous innovation in hydration and health-and-wellness products,” Alfredo Rivera, president of the North America operating unit of Coca-Cola said in a statement.
PepsiCo-owned Gatorade is still the 500-pound gorilla in the performance beverage category but BodyArmor has become the distant No. 2 brand over the past 10 years and generates $1.4 billion in retail sales, according to the companies.
Coca-Cola is paying for the acquisition in cash.