ATLANTA—The Coca-Cola Company has purchased full ownership of BODYARMOR, maker of sports drinks and waters, for $5.6 billion—Coca-Cola’s largest brand acquisition to date, reports CNBC. In 2018, Coca-Cola bought a 15% stake in BODYARMOR.
The purchase boosts the company’s market share in the sports drink category, which is dominated by PepsiCo’s Gatorade, which makes up about 70% of the market. BODYARMOR has already pushed Coke’s Powerade brand to the side to become the second-largest player in the category. Coke said BODYARMOR is growing at about 50% to drive more than $1.4 billion in retail sales.
“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 the North America operating unit of The Coca-Cola Company. “We’re excited to bring BODYARMOR into The Coca-Cola Company and work with Mike Repole and his leadership team on the next stage of growth.”
BODYARMOR co-founder Mike Repole will collaborate on Coke’s still beverages portfolio, including marketing, packaging and innovation strategies across multiple brands. Repole also founded Vitaminwater, Smartwater and Energy Brands, all of which are now owned by Coke.
Despite adverse conditions impacting store traffic for much of 2020, the packaged beverages category demonstrated its value by turning in a 3.9% gain in average sales per store, according to the NACS State of the Industry (SOI) Report of 2020 Data.
Packaged beverages represented 15.6% of in-store sales last year, according to SOI data, and contributed 19.0% to in-store gross margin. The category’s gross margins of 42.46% demonstrate its importance to store profitability.