AriZona Iced Tea is no longer a two-man shop.
Co-Founder John Ferolito, the silent partner to
better-known marketing whiz Don Vultaggio, has sold part or all of his holdings
in Beverage Marketing USA, the company that makes AriZona, to private equity
group Patriarch Partners LLC.
It is not yet clear whether Ferolito sold his entire 50
percent interest to the $6 billion fund or a less than complete stake.
The total amount of the sale is crucial to the future
direction of AriZona, the leading RTD iced tea brand in the country, as
Ferolito was an equal partner with Vultaggio. Vultaggio has expressed a strong
desire to remain active in guiding the company, reportedly nixing the
opportunity to sell out to a larger company on more than one occasion.
“This partnership brings tremendous opportunity to
our company, our employees, distributors, retailers and stakeholders — all of
whom have been integral to our long term success. Patriarch will enable us to move into the
next phase of our company’s lifecycle with rapidity and success,” said
John Ferolito in a release issued by Patriarch. “My partner Don Vultaggio
and I started this company from an idea and vision and from that initial dream
have grown it to become the successful enterprise it is today. Patriarch can help us accelerate our global
business and to transform today’s company into the grand global business I know
we can be.”
Vultaggio could not be reached for comment upon the initial
release of information concerning the deal.