Thursday November 30, 2023

Coke to Acquire Majority Stake in BodyArmor?

  • Coke has had a minority stake in BodyArmor since 2018.
  • Yearly BodyArmor sales are up to $1 billion.
Photo: BodyArmor/Design: Alex Brooks
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Coca-Cola could be close to acquiring BodyArmor.

Coke has had a minority stake in the sports drink company since 2018 and may be adding it to an owned lineup that already includes Powerade, vitaminwater, Honest Tea, Minute Maid and many others.

“We can confirm that The Coca-Cola Company has filed a pre-acquisition notification with the Federal Trade Commission relating to its intent to acquire a controlling interest in BodyArmor,” the company told BevNET.

BodyArmor co-founder and chairman Mike Repole responded with a statement that Coke acquiring the sports drink company is a “distinct possibility” but that reports about it are “premature.”

Some of the best athletes in the world hold equity stakes in BodyArmor: Naomi Osaka, Mike Trout, James Harden, Megan Rapinoe and Dustin Johnson, among others. Keurig Dr Pepper owns 12.5% as well.

Kobe Bryant reportedly owned around 10% of the company, investing $6 million in BodyArmor starting in March 2014, when the company hadn’t yet seen more than $10 million in annual sales. When Coke acquired its minority stake in Aug. 2018, the valuation of Bryant’s shares increased to $200 million.

Last August, Repole told CNBC that BodyArmor was “either going to go bankrupt in five years or going to be the No. 1 sports drink by 2025.” In the 30 months since the first deal with Coke, BodyArmor has exploded.

  • Yearly sales are up to $1 billion, an increase of 43.4% year-over-year as of Feb. 6, according to Nielsen. 
  • The brand has a 13.7% market share of the sports drink category — surpassing Coke-owned Powerade’s 8.6%.

PepsiCo-owned Gatorade is the market leader with a 70% share, and has been a consumer favorite during the pandemic, receiving a chunk of the credit for PepsiCo’s $22.5 billion in fourth-quarter revenue last year.

Before co-founding BodyArmor in 2011, Repole sold Glaceau — maker of vitaminwater and smartwater — to Coke for $4.1 billion in 2007.

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