NEW YORK: Coca Cola announced on Monday that it will acquire full ownership of sports drinks company BodyArmor for $5.6 billion.
The beverage giant bought 15 per cent of BodyArmor in 2018, and will continue to operate the firm as a separate business in North America, according to a statement.
The company was partly owned by late basketball great Kobe Bryant, who became a major shareholder in 2013.
“BodyArmor has been a great addition to the system lineup over the last three years, and the company has driven continuous innovation in hydration and health-and-wellness products,” said Alfredo Rivera, president of Coca Cola’s North American operating unit.
BodyArmor is currently the second biggest sports drink company with more than $1.4 billion in retail sales, the statement said.
The company’s co-founder and chairman Mike Repole and president Brent Hastie will stay on at the brand, which is looking at “explosive consumer demand” for premium sports drinks.
In a tribute to the athlete and shareholder who died in a 2020 helicopter crash, Repole said, “If it wasn’t for Kobe Bryant’s vision and belief, BodyArmor would not have been able to achieve the success we had. I couldn’t be more excited to become part of the Coca Cola family and set our sights on the future.”