Copyright John Sciulli, Getty Images for Sodastream

PepsiCo to Buy SodaStream for $3.2 Billion

Aug. 20, 2018
The purchase would be PepsiCo’s largest acquisition in eight years.

PepsiCo Inc. agreed to buy SodaStream International Ltd. for $3.2 billion in the latest attempt by a major soft-drink maker to harness demand for at-home drink systems to offset a slowdown in soda.

PepsiCo will pay $144 a share in cash for the Israeli company, the companies said in a statement Monday. That’s 11% higher than Friday’s closing price and would be PepsiCo’s largest acquisition in eight years. SodaStream shares rose 10% to $143.25 in premarket trading in the U.S.

Waning soda consumption and environmental concern have led soft-drink producers to try to tap the at-home market, though success has been elusive. Coca-Cola Co. ventured into the segment in 2014 when it bought a stake in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, though the soft-drink-making system they developed was discontinued in 2016 due to weak demand. To counter the weakness in soft drinks in recent years, SodaStream Chief Executive Officer Daniel Birnbaum has shifted the company’s marketing to focus on how the machines can produce carbonated water.

The transaction values SodaStream at 36 times trailing 12-month operating profit, compared with a median of 21 times for comparable deals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The stock has jumped 49 percent this month after second-quarter earnings exceeded the highest analyst estimates.

The purchase will probably be the last big move by PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, who said this month she’s stepping down as head of the beverage company after 12 years in the job.

“Daniel and his leadership team have built an extraordinary company that is offering consumers the ability to make great-tasting beverages while reducing the amount of waste generated,” Nooyi said in the statement.

SodaStream sells machines that carbonate tap water. The company has targeted big soda makers in ads in the past, criticizing them for making excessive waste. After declines in 2014 and 2015, the stock has surged amid the company’s refocus on sparkling water, and the bid price is 10 times where the shares were trading less than three years ago.

“SodaStream is highly complementary and incremental to our business, adding to our growing water portfolio,” said Ramon Laguarta, who is set to replace Nooyi in October.

After Coca-Cola bought the stake in Green Mountain in 2014, Nooyi said in an interview PepsiCo would avoid committing to a single technology in at-home soda makers. Investors have speculated the snack maker was pursuing SodaStream for several years.

Keurig Green Mountain and Dr Pepper Snapple Group merged last month, creating a beverage company with annual revenue of $11 billion. Last week, Coca-Cola agreed to buy a minority stake in Bodyarmor, a sports-drink maker whose backers include former basketball star Kobe Bryant, in a further move to diversify beyond sugary, fizzy beverages.

SodaStream has been the focus of controversy in the Middle East. Protesters claimed victory when the company closed a factory in the West Bank in 2014, which the opponents said was part of Israel’s illegal occupation of the territory. SodaStream has argued that boycotts and protests have hurt Palestinians more than helped them.

Goldman Sachs and Centerview advised PepsiCo, while Perella Weinberg Partners gave advice to SodaStream.

By Thomas Mulier

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Licensed content from Bloomberg, copyright 2016.

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