WSJ - Coca-Cola Co. is buying full control of BodyArmor for $5.6 billion in a cash deal that values the sports-drink brand at about $8 billion, amping up a rivalry with Gatorade.
Coke, which already owns a stake in BodyArmor, announced the deal Monday, confirming a report Sunday by The Wall Street Journal and recent reporting from other outlets. Earlier this year, Coke disclosed it was in talks to take a controlling stake in BodyArmor.
Coke bought a 15% stake in BodyArmor in 2018 for $300 million at a $2 billion valuation, according to people familiar with the matter. Coke’s bottling network then took over distribution of BodyArmor, earning the beverage giant an additional 15% equity stake for its distribution and partnership in building the BodyArmor brand, the people said.
Coke is buying the remaining 70% from the company’s founders and investors, as well as a group of professional athletes including the NBA’s James Harden and MLB’s Mike Trout who invested and helped market the drink.
The estate of Kobe Bryant, an early backer of BodyArmor, stands to collect roughly $400 million for its stake, some of the people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Bryant invested $6 million and had served on the BodyArmor board before he died in 2020, these people said.
Few things here and I'll make it quick.
1- $5.6 BILLION? Holy fuck balls.
I love BodyArmor. Huge fan. Was first introduced to it like ten years ago when they signed Gronk to an endorsement deal. He had pallets and pallets of the stuff in his garage at all times. They would drop off hundreds of cases to him a month. All flavors and stuff I'd never see in stores. Delicious. They were also FANTASTIC for hangovers.
I never had a clue they were a sports drink. Basically, because the flavors were fruity and blends of stuff. Tasted way better than Gatorade without all the artificial sweetener.
But I never thought they'd grow things into something Coke would acquire for almost 6 billion.
2- Talk about a hell of an ROI for Kobe Bryant's wife and kid. Can't help but be happy for them with this. Kobe stays winning even when he's gone.
3- Speaking of Gatorade. The sports drink world is their's and we're just living in it.
Gatorade, which is owned by PepsiCo Inc., accounts for the lion’s share of the $8.4 billion spent on sports drinks in the past year in U.S. retail stores tracked by Nielsen, according to Goldman Sachs analyst Bonnie Herzog. Gatorade represented 64% of those sales in the four weeks ended Oct. 9. Coke’s Powerade, which represented 13%, has failed to make a dent in its rival. BodyArmor has now taken the No. 2 spot with 18% of the market, according to Ms. Herzog.
A 64% market share is a stranglehold on the competition.
4- I do applaud Coke's foresight to get Powerade on the soda machines at McDonald's. Power move city. Not as huge as bringing back Hi-C Orange, but a fantastic #2 option if you're somehow, someway burned out on Hi-C.
5- BodyArmor is/was a big sponsor of this company. If the big wigs there are reading this, and I think they are, here's a pro-tip for you.
If you want to take down the king, you need to know how to play chess.
Not saying switch up the formula or pivot, but take a page out of one of the all-time great's playbook.
You know who I'm talking about.
Real ones know.
These things came in a glass bottle and were carbonated.
Yes, a carbonated sports drink.
There was nothing better than coming off the field, gasping for breath, in 90 degrees with 80% humidity, and trying to pound a carbonated drink. It'd go right up the back of your throat to your nose and burn the shit out of your sinuses.
The grape flavor was absolute FIRE.
And I'm 99.99% sure that if you left the grape ones in the fridge long enough after opening them, they would ferment. Call me crazy but I had a few times where it tasted like I was drinking wine and felt like the biggest badass.
The beverage game is not for the meek. It's cutthroat as it comes and you could be here today and gone tomorrow very easily. That's why you've always got to be innovating. Staying ahead of the curve. What better way than to take it back, full circle, and zig when everyone's zagging?
Throw out a limited edition All Sport line and watch Gatorade shit their pants.
p.s. - if they really want to put a dent in their market share, BodyArmor should re-introduce the greatest sports drink flavor of all time, "Citrus Cooler." Obviously it's copywritten, so flip the script to "Cooler Citrus". Same flavor, we'll all know the deal and this stuff will fly off shelves.