Coca-Cola to pay $5.6 billion for BodyArmor sports drink

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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.

A round Coke logo
Coca-Cola still has some catching up to do if it wants to surpass PepsiCo’s Gatorade.
AP

Bryant invested $6 million in the brand and his estate could now collect $200 million, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

A bottle of orange mango BodyArmor
The brand already has endorsement deals with pro athletes.

“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.

Kobe Bryant owned a large stake in BodyArmor.
Kobe Bryant was an early investor in BodyArmor.

Coca-Cola is paying for the acquisition in cash.

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