PepsiCo to Get Naked

Will acquire juice company

AZUSA, Calif. -- PepsiCo Inc. has announced an agreement to acquire Azusa, Calif.-based Naked Juice Co., a player in the super-premium juice category, from North Castle Partners, a private-equity firm. Terms of the agreement, which is subject to government approval, were not disclosed.

The acquisition signals PepsiCo's continued portfolio transformation to growth platforms that address growing consumer health and wellness needssuch as its North American acquisitions of IZZE Beverages and Stacy's Pita Chips earlier this year. Brands and products like [image-nocss] thesewhich are identified with PepsiCo's Smart Spot logo and number about 250have been growing at two and a half times the rate of the rest of the portfolio.

With sales of more than $150 million, Naked Juice reaches its consumer base mainly through grassroots marketing and sales efforts. Its products include more than 25 all-natural, 100% chilled juices and juice smoothies made from the best bare-naked fruits, with no added sugars or preservatives. Naked Juice is sold in supermarkets, club stores, health food stores and other specialty stores nationwide.

PepsiCo will continue Naked Juice's marketing and innovation approach, while broadening its reach. With access to PepsiCo's sales and distribution capabilities, Naked Juice can better meet the increasing consumer demand for healthy grab-and-go beverages and healthy snack alternatives. Naked Juice will continue to operate in California.

We're delighted to add Naked Juice to our portfolio, as it strategically fits our stated plans for growth, said Greg Shearson, president of Tropicana Products North America, a unit of PepsiCo. The company's products are consistent with PepsiCo's overall health and wellness focus and will help accelerate our efforts in providing great tasting fruit and vegetable servings to North American consumers.

In fact, nearly all 25 Naked Juice beverages would qualify for the PepsiCo Smart Spot designation, which was created to help consumers identify PepsiCo products that contribute to a healthier lifestyle, the company said.

Founded in 1983, Naked Juice was first distributed out of a backpack beach towel-to-beach towel on Santa Monica Beach and today has grown to produce and ship six million bottles every month, nationwide.

Becoming part of PepsiCo will allow us to expand our distribution and continue to demonstrate our commitment to bring the best all-natural juice and juice smoothies to more consumers. I'm looking forward to PepsiCo growing this business, and to extending the availability and awareness of Naked Juice's exceptional line up of beverages, said Monty Sharma, CEO of Naked Juice.

The Naked Juice line is divided into functional families, with each family providing a different group of benefits. These families include Superfoods, Antioxidants, Proteins, Well Being, Energy and Just Juice. They are available in 10-oz., 15.2-oz., 32-oz., 64-oz. and 128-oz. sizes. The Naked Juice product lineup may vary depending on the store and the location.

Greenwich, Conn.-based North Castle Partners is a private-equity firm focused exclusively on investments in consumer-driven product and service businesses that benefit from healthy living and aging trends.