BodyArmor, a sports drink company that received an initial investment from the late Kobe Bryant, will be acquired for $5.6 billion by the Coca-Cola company.
According to CNBC, the acquisition will be the largest of its kind by the soft drink company, which will have full control of the brand.
The Coca-Cola Company is looking to position BodyArmor as the direct competition to Gatorade, which is owned by Pepsico. Gatorade currently has about 70 percent of the market share in sports drinks, which gives its parent company nearly full dominance over the market.
What makes this full acquisition so notable is that Coca-Cola was once the sports drink’s second-largest shareholder. They bought into the company back in 2018 in a deal that gave them 15 percent ownership in the company. At the time, too, the late Kobe Bryant was the third-largest shareholder in the company, as well — and his investment was made just two years after the company was launched.
According to the outlet, Kobe Bryant’s estate is expected to receive $400 million as part of the deal made with Coca-Cola, which will ultimately buy out the late basketball star’s share in the company.
What’s not clear, though, is where the BodyArmor founders sit as a result of the deal. The founder told CNBC that he would like to remain as a consultant with the beverage company. Considering he founded Smartwater, it’s safe to say that he’d have some insight. But, there’s some question as to whether that will be the case now that the acquisition is complete.
“After I spoke to [Chairman and CEO James Quincey], I asked him if I could be chairman of the board. I think he muted me after that,” Bodyarmor co-founder Mike Repole told CNBC’s Sara Eisen on “Squawk on the Street.” “But I wasn’t afraid to ask, so I’m going to try my best to get on the board.”