Reignwood Group, the parent company of Red Bull China, has acquired a majority stake in Voss. Voss of Norway announced the deal Monday, which The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) first reported as costing Reignwood approximately $105 million for slightly more than 50 percent of the premium bottled water brand.
“This is another step in the Reignwood process of investing in leading worldwide brands that can satisfy the growing Chinese demand for trend-setting, premium products,” said Ms. Yasmin Lu, CEO of Reignwood FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) in a press release.
Voss CEO Jack Belsito discussed the investment in a call with BevNET Monday evening, 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, $2 million of which came from the brand’s existing presence in China, Belsito told the WSJ. The new alliance with Reignwood/Red Bull China, which boasts 4 million points of sale throughout the country, will open the doors for Voss to significantly increase that presence.
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. Vita Coco co-founder and CEO Michael Kirban, like Belsito, valued the distribution opportunities that would result from a partnership with Red Bull China, which accounts for nearly half of Red Bull’s global business and makes up 70 percent of all energy drink sales in China.
In April, Voss will make its official launch into the flavored waters space, adding Lemon Cucumber and Tangerine Lemongrass flavors to its sparkling line.