Coke buys stake in Kobe Bryant-backed BodyArmor

Coca Cola delivery van in downtown Pittsburgh. Keith Srakocic  The Associated Press

Coca Cola delivery van in downtown Pittsburgh. Keith Srakocic The Associated Press

Coca-Cola just bought the 2nd-largest stake in beverage maker BodyArmor to rehydrate its sports-drinks where Powerade failed to quench consumers' thirst. Coke has also been rattled by falling demand for its trademark fizzy drinks.

"Proud of our team at @DrinkBODYARMOR and our new partnership with the @CocaColaCo who believes in our mission of becoming the #1 Global Sports Drink".

Coca-Cola's acquisition is the biggest story in the business of sports drinks since December 2000, when PepsiCo acquired Quaker Oats, which included Gatorade. Monster Beverage and Red Bull follow close behind, with Coke trailing in fourth place with a 7 per cent share.

In 2015, Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS), now KDP, paid $20 million to acquire an 11.7 percent stake in BodyArmor at a $170 million valuation. But after Coca-Cola purchased a minority stake in the company this week, the value of its share unsurprisingly went through the roof. "This is thanks to the strength and scale of Coca-Cola's newly refranchised and energized bottling system in North America, as well as longer-term opportunities for worldwide growth".

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But Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog said Coca-Cola's investment could end BodyArmor's agreement with Dr Pepper.

Herzog also wrote that BodyArmor has notified KDP of its intention to terminate their existing contract, but no further details on timing or procedure for the transition to Coke have been given. In 2013, Bryant invested millions in BodyArmor, a rehydrating drink for athletes.

BodyArmor founder Mike Repole also sold Glaceau, the company behind smartwater and vitaminwater, to Coca-Cola in 2007.

James Harden, Mike Trout, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Dustin Johnson are listed on the company's website as endorsers, among many others.

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