Coca-Cola Co. Invests in BodyArmor

Sports drink will remain independent but gain access to bottling system

ATLANTA -- The Coca-Cola Co. has acquired a minority ownership stake in BodyArmor, giving the sports drink access to the expansive Coca-Cola bottling system and enabling the seven-year-old brand "to accelerate its growth to meet explosive consumer demand for its premium line of sports performance and hydration drinks."

“In a fast-moving and dynamic industry, and during a time of unprecedented change at Coca-Cola, we’re challenging the status quo and bringing innovative, boundary-less thinking to our strategic relationships to ensure we are offering the products consumers want,” said Coca-Cola North America President Jim Dinkins. “BodyArmor is one of the fastest-growing beverage trademarks in America and competes in exciting categories. I have no doubt it will prove to be a strong offering to our system alongside our already powerful hydration portfolio as we accelerate our position as a total beverage company.”

The initial investment is structured to create value for both companies and allow Coca-Cola to increase its ownership stake in the future under defined terms, the companies said. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The BodyArmor investment will be part of the Coca-Cola North America Venturing and Emerging Brands investment portfolio. The brand, led by co-founder and Chairman Mike Repole, will continue to operate independently.

“We are confident that this agreement gives us the best opportunity to significantly accelerate our mission to make BodyArmor the world’s best premium sports performance and hydration brand," Repole said. "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 international growth.”

In 2015, Plano, Texas-based Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc., now part of Keurig Dr Pepper, purchased an 11.7% ownership position in BodyArmor parent company BA Sports Nutrition, and BodyArmor displayed its products in the Dr Pepper Snapple booth during the 2017 NACS Show as one of the beverage company's Allied Brands. It's not known how the new agreement with Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. will change that relationship.

Through the transaction, Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. becomes the second-largest shareowner in Whitestone, N.Y.-based BodyArmor, behind only Repole. Repole is also the co-founder of smartwater and vitaminwater, which joined the Coca-Cola portfolio in 2007, and have since become billion-dollar brands with global availability.

"I am extremely excited about this agreement because the Coca-Cola system has an amazing track record of growing explosive brands that consumers love and allowing entrepreneurial startups like BodyArmor to continue to be independent and focused on achieving the aggressive growth goals that we set out to achieve when we launched this amazing brand in 2011," Repole said.

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