November 2, 2021

The Coca-Cola Company has bought 85% of the sports performance and hydration beverages brand Bodyarmor for $5.6 billion to take full ownership. The soft drinks player bought an initial 15% in 2018.

Coca-Cola’s initially investment was with the intention of a full acquisition based on a pre-determined discount, the drinks giant said. Bodyarmor will be managed as a separate business within Coke’s North America operating unit and will continue to be based in New York.

Through a separate consulting and transition-services agreement, the top leadership team, including co-founder and chairman Mike Repole and president Brent Hastie, will continue to support the brand’s market momentum in the market. They will execute Bodyarmor’s 2022 plan and working on a strategy for 2023 and beyond. As part of the agreement, Coca-Cola and Repole will also collaborate on the company’s still beverages portfolio, including marketing, packaging and innovation strategies across multiple brands.

“Explosive” demand for hydration drinks says Coca-Cola

Bodyarmor is in a segment that is incremental to Coca-Cola’s beverage portfolio and is said to have “significant potential for long-term growth”. Repole commented: “Ten years ago, we set out with a vision to create a better-for-you sports drink with a goal of becoming the global number one. Our talented leadership team under Brent Hastie and our 400 dedicated employees plus Coca-Cola bottling partners have helped us build this remarkable brand.” Bsketball player Kobe Bryant had also invested in the company and Repole believes that Bodyarmor would not have achieved its success without him.

When Bodyarmor first went partially under Coca-Cola’s wing it gained access to the Coca-Cola system, which enabled the brand to accelerate its growth to meet explosive consumer demand for premium sports and hydration beverages. Bodyarmor is currently the number two sports drink in the category in measured retail channels and is growing at about 50% which has driven more than $1.4 billion in retail sales.

Mike Repole gives his take on the Coke deal to CNBC.

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