Coca-Cola increases stake in U.K. smoothie maker

by Eric Schroeder
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LONDON — Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, has increased its stake in London-based smoothie maker Innocent Drinks. As part of the transaction, Coca-Cola acquired the shares of Innocent’s two original start-up investors, who the company said have decided to retire. In addition, each of the founders of Innocent has agreed to relinquish a minority of their own shares, but will retain the majority of them.

“We are excited to invest further in Innocent’s future,” said James Quincey, business unit president for Coca-Cola’s Northwest Europe and the Nordic operations. “We have long admired their brand and their products and believe in the business’ long-term growth potential. Our relationship is working well and the founders will continue to lead the business. We will do all we can to help Innocent make its products available to more consumers in Europe.”

Founded in 1999, Innocent sells natural health products in more than 13 countries and employs more than 220 people across Europe. In addition to 100% pure fruit smoothies, the company offers orange juice and “veg pots” (a soup-like product featuring whole grains, vegetables, sauces, herbs and spices packaged in a plastic container).

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