Beverage Industry

Coca-Cola acquires majority stake in Innocent smoothie company

April 13, 2010

Smoothie-maker Innocent, London, and The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, agreed on a deal for Coca-Cola to increase its investment in the company. Coca-Cola increased its stake in Innocent to 58 percent, gaining majority ownership of the U.K. brand.
 
Under the terms of the deal, Innocent’s founders retain operational control of the business. The deal involves Coca-Cola buying the shares of Innocent’s two original start-up investors, who want to retire, Innocent said. The founders will continue to lead the business as before, pursuing their mission of getting healthy, natural food and drinks to as many people in as many places as possible – as well as pushing for better social and environmental standards across the business and donating 10 percent of profits to charity, the company said.
 
The agreement is subject to approval by the competent merger control authorities.
 
“This deal is good news for all parties — it allows our original investors to retire and realize the value they helped create, Coca-Cola gets to increase its investment in the business and we strengthen our relationship with a partner that can help our international expansion,” said Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent, in a statement. “Importantly for us, the founders, we keep the majority of our shares and will continue to run the business with full operational control.”
 
“We are excited to invest further in Innocent’s future,” said James Quincey, Coca-Cola’s Business Unit President for Northwest Europe and the Nordics, in a statement. “We have long admired their brand and their products and believe in the business’s long-term growth potential. Our relationship is working well and the founders will continue to lead the business. We will do all we can to help innocent make its products available to more consumers in Europe."