Coca-Cola to acquire controlling interest in BodyArmor sports drink


Dive Brief:

  • Coca-Cola is planning to acquire a controlling stake in BodyArmor, a premium line of sports performance and hydration drinks, according to a statement provided by the beverage giant. News of the transaction was first reported by Beverage Digest.
  • Coca-Cola acquired a minority stake in BodyArmor in 2018 for an undisclosed amount with an opportunity to fully acquire the sports drink brand in the future. The drink maker said Friday it filed a pre-acquisition notification with the Federal Trade Commission to increase its stake.
  • The fast-growing brand has quickly become a meaningful challenger to Gatorade, though PepsiCo’s iconic beverage is far and away the market leader in the sports drink and hydration category, with about 70% market share.

Dive Insight:

As Coca-Cola looks to expand its portfolio beyond its popular soda brands, the Atlanta-based company has turned to acquisitions. One of the most successful has been BodyArmor. Coca-Cola first purchased a stake in BodyArmor three years ago, and hinted at the time it would look to eventually acquire the brand, with the amount it would ultimately pay depending on sales and other performance measures.

Unlike Gatorade and Coca-Cola’s own Powerade, BodyArmor is marketed as a premium sports drink through its use of coconut water, low sodium and high potassium levels, absence of artificial colors and use of sugar in place of high fructose corn syrup. Bodyarmor recently rolled out its newest product innovation called BodyArmor Edge, a premium sports drink with natural caffeine. 

Sales of the drink have risen 43.4% year to date through Feb. 6, 2021, according to Nielsen data cited by Seeking Alpha. BodyArmor said it has grown to become the No. 2 sports drink nationwide in the $40 billion active hydration category. It now generates more than $1 billion in retail sales. 

BodyArmor not only gives Coca-Cola a better-for-you sports drink, but also a hydration beverage for consumers on the go. And it has a roster of high-profile athletes tied to it, including Kobe Bryant and baseball player Mike Trout. This gives additional credibility to BodyArmor and boosts its reach among millennials and other consumers concerned about what they drink. As people look to curtail sugar consumption and exercise more, beverages like BodyArmor will be in high demand and Coca-Cola no doubt wanted a bigger piece of that market. 

In recent years, Coca-Cola has acquired Topo Chico premium sparkling mineral water, launched the first Coke-branded energy drink, spent $5.1 billion to purchase Costa Coffee and acquired the remaining stake in Fairlife milk. At the same time, it has sold or ended production of Zico coconut waterTab soda and Odwalla juice as part of a wider plan to eliminate an estimated 200 brands globally to focus on more profitable, faster-growing products coming out of the pandemic.