Coca-Cola to fully acquire Gatorade rival BodyArmor for $5.6 billion

FILE PHOTO: Bottles of Coca-Cola are seen at a Carrefour Hypermarket store in Montreuil, near Paris, France, February 5, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

(Reuters) -Coca-Cola Co said on Monday it would buy the remaining stake in BodyArmor it did not already own for $5.6 billion, as the soda maker amps up its sports drink portfolio to take on market leader, PepsiCo Inc’s Gatorade.

The deal, which values BodyArmor at about $6.59 billion, marks a shift in strategy for Coca-Cola that spent the last year offloading or discontinuing brands, including its own energy-drink brand, to focus on its sodas.

BodyArmor currently makes about $1.4 billion in annual retail sales and has a 50% growth rate, Coca-Cola said.

The sports drink maker gained much of its popularity due to the backing from basketball great Kobe Bryant, who took a stake in the company in 2013, two years after it was launched.

The world’s largest beverage maker, which had first acquired a 15% stake in BodyArmor in 2018, said BodyArmor will be managed as a separate business within its North America operating unit.

At the time Coca-Cola took its initial stake, BodyArmor was valued at $2 billion, according to a Sunday Wall Street Journal report here.

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