Reuters is reporting that Bai Brands is exploring a sale of the company valued in excess of $2 billion, including debt.
The story, which cites unnamed sources familiar with the situation, states that Bai has hired JP Morgan Chase & Co. to conduct an auction and contact potential buyers.
Launched in 2009 Bai markets still and sparkling lines of its coffeefruit-infused Antioxidant Infusion drinks, which sweetened with a blend of erythritol and organic stevia, contain 5 calories per 8 oz. serving. Bai also markets an enhanced water called Antiwater.
In April, 2015, Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG), the primary distributor of Bai beverages, acquired a $15 million minority stake in Bai, based on a $500 million dollar valuation. Weiss told BevNET at the time that Bai had turned a profit for the first time earlier that year.
The Reuters article identifies The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo as two parties potentially interested in acquiring Bai. DPSG is also a potential suitor for Bai, however, Reuters notes that DPSG CFO Marty Ellen, in a conference call related to second-quarter 2015 results, cast doubt on his company’s prospects of purchasing Bai outright, saying “to acquire them would be just too expensive.”
Nevertheless, Bai has proven to be an exceptional brand in recent years: Inc. Magazine recently pegged Bai’s 2015 revenue at nearly $120 million, with three-year growth of 2,210 percent.
Reached by e-mail, Bai founder and CEO Ben Weiss had no comment on the Reuters report.