Coca-Cola Co. invests $2 billion in Monster Beverage

by Keith Nunes
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As part of the deal, Coca-Cola will own Monster's non-energy beverage business, which includes Hansen's Natural Soda, Peace Tea, Hubert's Lemonade and Hansen's Juice Products.

ATLANTA — The Coca-Cola Co. has acquired a 16.7% stake in the Monster Beverage Co., Corona, Calif., for approximately $2.15 billion. As part of the agreement, Coca-Cola will transfer its global energy beverage business to Monster, and Monster will transfer its non-energy beverage business to Coca-Cola.

The swap of brands means once the transaction is complete, Monster Beverage will own the NOS, Full Throttle, Burn, Mother, Play, Power Play and Relentless energy beverage brands, and Coca-Cola will own the Hansen’s Natural Soda, Peace Tea, Hubert’s Lemonade and Hansen’s Juice Products. The two companies also said they are amending their current distribution agreement in the United States and Canada by expanding into additional territories and entering into long-term agreements.

“The Coca-Cola Co. continues to identify innovative approaches to partnerships that enable us to stay at the forefront of consumer trends in the beverage industry,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer of The Coca-Cola Co. “Our equity investment in Monster is a capital efficient way to bolster our participation in the fast-growing and attractive global energy drinks category. This long-term partnership aligns us with a leading energy player globally, brings financial benefit to our company and our bottling partners, and supports broader commercial strategies with our customers to bring total beverage growth opportunities that will also benefit our core business.”

The Coca-Cola Co. has been working with Monster Beverage since 2008.

“Our agreement enables us to focus on our core energy business, while leveraging the strength of The Coca-Cola Co.’s powerful distribution and bottling system on a worldwide scale,” said Hilton H. Schlosberg, vice-chairman and president of Monster. “The goals of both companies’ management teams are further aligned, with a great enhancement to Monster’s position as one of the world’s leading energy beverage companies. We expect the transaction to significantly accelerate our growth and results of operations internationally, and we plan to review all options available to return a substantial amount of cash to our shareholders.”

This is not the first time The Coca-Cola Co. has invested in another beverage company. This past May, the company acquired a 10% stake in Keurig Green Mountain, Waterbury, Vt., for approximately $1.25 billion. The company later increased its stake to 16%.

The companies also announced plans to develop a home brewing system called Keurig Cold. The new cold beverage dispensing system is expected to make its debut in 2015.
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