LOS ANGELES — A growth equity fund is resuscitating the Zico coconut water brand months after the Coca-Cola Co. revealed plans to discontinue it. PowerPlant Ventures, co-founded and co-led by Zico founder Mark Rampolla, has acquired the business from Coca-Cola for an undisclosed sum.
Founded in 2004, Zico was one of the three original coconut water brands, along with ONE and Vita Coco. Shortly after PepsiCo, Inc. invested in ONE, Coca-Cola in 2009 joined a group of entrepreneurs, distributors and celebrities in acquiring a 20% minority stake in Zico. In 2012, Coca-Cola bought a majority stake in the brand and began distributing the company’s products along with its signature beverages in the United States and Canada. A year later, Coca-Cola purchased the outstanding ownership stake in Zico.
This past October, Coca-Cola announced plans to retire Zico, along with several other beverage brands, as part of an ongoing portfolio refresh.
“We are incredibly proud of the results we achieved growing Zico when it was a part of the Coca-Cola family of brands and wish PowerPlant Ventures continued success as they take the Zico brand on a new journey,” said Manolo Arroyo, global chief marketing officer of Coca-Cola.
Under PowerPlant Ventures’ ownership, the company will be renamed Zico Rising, led by industry veterans Thomas Hicks as chief executive officer and Alan George as chief financial officer. The pair previously worked together on Naked Juice and Monster Energy’s natural division.
“I respect the decision of Coca-Cola to focus on other elements of their beverage business,” Mr. Rampolla said. “I still have a lot of love for Zico, and I know consumers do, too. We are thrilled to acquire the company and thankful for the support from Coca-Cola.”
The move mirrors a similar sale last year, when the Hershey Co. sold the Krave jerky brand to its founder Jon Sebastiani’s Sonoma Brands.