Ocean Spray grower-owners have voted to reject a proposal to pursue final negotiations for a joint venture with PepsiCo, preferring instead to continue the 75-year tradition of operating the Company as an independent, farmer-owned Cooperative. The vote was roughly 52 to 48 percent against pursuing the Pepsi venture.
The “no” verdict on the Pepsi deal means the Board of Directors will cease all talks with PepsiCo and other potential equity investors, focusing all efforts instead on working with management to build the Ocean Spray business for the future.
The decision by Ocean Spray grower-owners in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Florida, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and other parts of Canada will bring to an end a lengthy process undertaken by the Board more than a year ago to explore a full range of strategic options, including business partnerships, strategic alliances and various other business models, all in the interest of bolstering the Cooperative and the profitability of its grower-owners.
Ultimately, the two options placed before the grower-owners were pursuing a branded-company joint venture with PepsiCo or remaining independent, leveraging the strength of the existing Cooperative business model and rising prices for fruit.
While the proposed joint venture with PepsiCo will not be pursued, the Board and management will continue to explore opportunities to work with other companies to maximize the potential of the Ocean Spray brand and grow profits, while maintaining the Cooperative’s independence.
The Board, management and the grower-owners look forward to continuing the success of one of the country’s most trusted and respected brands for generations to come.