DEALS, DEALS, WE GOT YOUR DEALS
The end of the year saw a lot of people signing on the dotted line. Here’s a quick list:
Global Aspirations Drive JAB Holding’s Acquisition of Keurig Green Mountain
In December, JAB Holding Co. snapped up pod-based, single-serve beverage system maker Keurig Green Mountain. JAB is a privately held group with controlling stakes in Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Caribou Coffee Company along with several other coffee- and consumer-focused companies. JAB agreed to pay Keurig shareholders $92 per share in cash, a premium of approximately 77.9 percent over Keurig’s closing stock price on December 4, 2015, valuing the company at approximately $13.9 billion. The agreement was unanimously approved by Keurig’s board of directors.
Keurig will operate as an independent entity, according to JAB chairman Bart Becht, who hailed the deal as “a major step forward in the creation of our global coffee platform,” one that rapidly expanded toward the end of the year, with Peet’s acquiring Stumptown Coffee and taking majority ownership of Intelligentsia Coffee.
The deal was seen as positive for Keurig shareholders, including the Coca-Cola Co., which last year purchased 10 percent of the company for $1.25 billion and later increased its stake to 16 percent. In a press release, Coca-Cola chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent praised the agreement saying that the company “will continue our collaboration with JAB in order to capitalize on the growth opportunities in the single-serve, pod-based segment of the cold beverage industry.”
Celebrity Trainer Jillian Michaels Buys Lucky Jack Organic Coffee
Biggest Loser star Jillian Michaels has purchased a controlling interest in emerging cold brew brand Lucky Jack Coffee Co. The cost was not disclosed. David Seldin, a venture capitalist whose fund, Anzu Partners, has also invested alongside Michaels in the past, is part of the investment group, she said.
Las Vegas-based Lucky Jack is the first bottled line of organic, nitrogen-infused cold brew coffees, according to its new owners. It was started by Richard Karno, who is best known as the founder of Gourmet Coffee Warehouse and Groundwork Coffee, a popular organic coffee roaster in Southern California. Karno will remain on board as head of innovation, while Giancarlo Chersich, the CEO of Michaels’ own Empowered Media, will take the role of acting CEO.
“We’re looking for companies that have the hip factor, the cool factor,” Michaels said. “Is the branding on point, something you want to hold in your hand, and how is the taste?”
With nautical imagery on its 10.5 oz. “stubby” bottles, Lucky Jack has six SKUs and combines coffee and other ingredients with nitrogen in gas and liquid form. It is named for Lucky Jack Aubrey, a British naval officer in a series of books and the movie Master and Commander. The product retails for an average of about $3.69 per bottle with an MSRP of $3.99.
REBBL Completes Capital Raise Led by Mark Rampolla’s Powerplant Ventures
On Dec. 24, REBBL, a San Francisco-based brand of adaptogen-powered herbal elixirs and tonics closed its first capital raise beyond friends and family. Led by Powerplant Ventures – an investment fund co-founded by ZICO founder Mark Rampolla – the round also included investments from Arif Fazal’s Blueberry Ventures, equity crowdfunding platform CircleUp and personal investments from former Boulder Brands executives Duane Primozich and Carole Buyers. REBBL did not disclose the amount of the raise.
“This company has so much potential and we wanted the crème de la crème of a team to be with us and help us on this ride,” said REBBL CEO Sheryl O’Loughlin. “We knew we couldn’t do it alone.”
Rampolla, who, along with Primozich, joined REBBL’s board of directors, told BevNET he’d had his eyes on the company for quite some time, stemming from a longstanding relationship with its co-founder Palo Hawken, who played a role in developing ZICO’s chocolate-flavored variety.
“For a while I’d been intrigued by the concept of super herbs as the next superfood wave,” said Rampolla. “Then they developed this line of coconut milk-based elixirs and I was all over it. I’ve always believed there was a lot of opportunity for coconut milk and I didn’t think anyone had done a grab-and-go version that was delicious, and this was.”
Voss Water Sells Majority Stake to Reignwood Group
Reignwood Group, the parent company of Red Bull China, has acquired a majority stake in Voss for a reported $105 million for slightly more than 50 percent of the premium bottled water brand.
Voss CEO Jack Belsito discussed the investment with BevNET, saying that the company had begun scouting potential strategic investors about a year ago, eventually connecting with Reignwood Group via Goldman Sachs, which served as an advisor to Voss throughout the process.
“We were looking for an investment that would carry some other type of catalyzing benefit, which in this case is a significant selling and distribution infrastructure in China and a vision of creating a global health and wellness beverage company,” said Belsito. “It was more than just money coming in. Those things really connected well with us.”
Voss’ sales increased by 25 percent in 2015 to $77.5 million. The deal comes a year and a half after Reignwood’s purchase of a 25 percent stake in Vita Coco, a $165 million investment based on a valuation of $665 million.
Anheuser-Busch Finishes Year with Three-Course Meal
Anheuser-Busch InBev closed the year by purchasing three beer companies in five days, capping the spree with the acquisition of Colorado’s Breckenridge Brewery.
Specific terms of the transaction were not disclosed and the deal is expected to close during the first quarter of 2016.
The news cames just one day after the company acquired London’s Camden Town Brewery, and four days after it said it would buy Arizona’s Four Peaks Brewing.
Breckenridge Brewery will sell approximately 70,000 barrels in 2015, the company said in a statement.
A-B has now acquired seven U.S. craft breweries since 2011, including Goose Island, Blue Point Brewing, 10 Barrel Brewing, Elysian Brewing, Golden Road and Four Peaks Brewing. All seven breweries are part of what A-B calls “The High End Division,” which also includes brands like Stella Artois, Shock Top and Virtue Cider.
The company has expanded its interest in the craft category globally, too, purchasing five international outfits — London’s Camden Town Brewery, Toronto’s Mill Street Brewery, Brazil’s Cervejaria Colorado and Cervejaria Wäls and Colombia’s largest craft brewery, Bogota Beer Company.