Coca-Cola Co. today said it acquired full ownership of BodyArmor, a line of sports performance and hydration beverages. Coca-Cola initially acquired a 15% stake in BodyArmor with a path to full ownership based on a pre-determined discount.
Coca-Cola is paying $5.6 billion in cash for the remaining 85% of the company, making it the company’s largest-ever brand acquisition to date. BodyArmor competes in the sports drink category, where PepsiCo’s Gatorade commands about 70% of the market.
BodyArmor will be managed as a separate business within Coca-Cola’s North America operating unit and continue to be based in New York. Under a separate consulting and transition-services agreement, the executive leadership team, including cofounder and chairman Mike Repole and president Brent Hastie, has agreed to continue to work to maintain the brand’s momentum in the market.
Coca-Cola’s BodyArmor acquisition will be funded through cash on-hand and is consistent with an M&A and capital allocation framework that focuses on accelerating growth.
At the time of Coke's initial investment, basketball legend Kobe Bryant was BodyArmor's third-largest shareholder after investing in the brand in 2013 two years after its founding. According to The Wall Street Journal, the estate of the late NBA star will receive about $400 million from the transaction.