CBx Daily

Coca-Cola Wants Controlling Interest In Kobe Bryant’s BodyArmor Sports Drink

Mar 11

By Lesley Rennis

  • BodyArmor plans to dethrone Gatorade by 2025 and now generates more than $1 billion in retail sales
  • In 2018, Kobe Bryant’s more than 10% stake in BodyArmor was valued at $200M

BodyArmor’s CEO, Mike Repole made a promise to the late Kobe Bryant that the brand would be the number one sports drink by 2025, and with Coca-Cola (KO +1.41%) set to acquire the controlling interest of the company, this is a promise realized. Over the last decade, BodyArmor has emerged as the leading challenger brand to sports drinks’ two dominant forces, PepsiCo-owned (PEP +1.14%) Gatorade and Powerade. Now that BodyArmor has emerged as a leading competitor in the sports drink business, just how lucrative will Coca-Cola’s latest investment become for Bryant’s estate that owns 10% of the company.  

Why This Matters: Bryant’s investment return will be one of the biggest for a modern-day athlete. In 2014, he acquired more than 10% of the company for close to $6 million. Then in 2018, Coca-Cola invested $300 million in the company at a $2 billion valuation, pushing the value of Bryant’s stake to $200 million. The initial Coca-Cola-BodyArmor deal was structured to create value for both companies while also defining a path to ownership in the future.  

Repole is accustomed to working with Coca-Cola, because back in 2007, the company Glaceau which he co-owned with the SmartWater and Vitamin Water brands, sold to Coke for $4.1 billion. BodyArmor’s sales have risen 43.4% year to date through February 2021, taking the company past the $1 billion mark, and solidifying exactly why Coca-Cola wants to up its investment.

“We can confirm that The Coca-Cola Company has filed a pre-acquisition notification with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) relating to its intent to acquire a controlling interest in BodyArmor,” Coke said in a statement shared with BevNET.

Situational Awareness: The rising popularity of fitness activities and increasing trend of marathon running, have contributed to the growth of the global sports drink market. Not to mention, millennials, with their rising buying power and increased participation in physical activities are looking for healthier sports drinks versions. BodyArmor seems to fit the bill with its use of less sugar, less sodium, coconut water and natural caffeine.  

CBx Vibe:Gatorade” Charly Bliss