Coca-Cola has announced that it will be acquiring a stake in sports drink brand BodyArmor, in order to challenge PepsiCo’s Gatorade.
Coca-Cola noted that it will become the company’s second-largest shareholder, after co-founder and Chairman Mike Repole, while basketball star Kobe Bryant remains its third-largest shareholder. Dr Pepper Snapple also has a 15.5% stake in the company.
BodyArmor produces sports performance and hydration drinks, such as low-calorie drinks that combine natural sweeteners and flavours with coconut water, and water enriched with electrolytes and vitamins.
Coca-Cola said the deal offers BodyArmor access to the former’s bottling facilities, allowing it to “accelerate its growth to meet explosive consumer demand”. The deal comes even as Gatorade, which has a nearly 75% share of the $8bn US sports drink market, saw its sales edge down last year while losing some market share.
Jim Dinkins, President of Coca-Cola North America, noted: “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.”
Repole added: “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. 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.”