PepsiCo to buy sparkling probiotic drinks maker KeVita

PepsiCo Inc yesterday struck a deal to buy health beverage maker KeVita Inc, in order to diversify its soft drinks business.

PepsiCo did not reveal financial terms of the deal, but Reuters had earlier reported that the transaction is likely to value the privately-held company at less than $500 million.

The deal comes on the same day when soft-drinks maker Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc agreed to acquire antioxidant beverages maker Bai Brands LLC for $1.7 billion.

PepsiCo, which already holds a minority stake in KeVita, and has a distribution agreement, has carried out the acquisition through its wholly-owned unit Naked Emerging Brands.

Founded in 2009 by Bill Moses and Chakra Earthsong in their hometown of Ojai, California, KeVita was first crafted in Chakra's kitchen, then further developed at Bill's Organic Winery.

KeVita, backed by private equity firms KarpReilly and SPK Capital, makes sparkling probiotic drinks, master brew kombucha tea, and vinegar tonics, while Naked Emerging Brands portfolio comprises Naked Juices, Izze sparkling Juice, and O.N.E. Coconut Water.

Its more than two dozen flavours of its drinks are certified organic, gluten-free and vegan, PepsiCo said in a statement.

Upon closing, which is subject to regulatory approval, KeVita will continue to operate independently with its production and bottling facilities located in Oxnard, California.

PepsiCo added that the transaction will expand its health and wellness offerings in the premium chilled beverage space. 

"I am pleased to welcome KeVita into the PepsiCo family.  Under the leadership of CEO Bill Moses, KeVita has become an innovative, high–growth brand that is transforming the functional beverage space," said Chris Lansing, general manager and vice president, PepsiCo Premium Nutrition.

"Joining the PepsiCo family will give us an opportunity to extend KeVita's trend-forward beverages to a broader audience, while staying committed to our core values," said Bill Moses, CEO and co-founder of KeVita. "We're looking forward to more consumers experiencing the KeVita brand and to leveraging PepsiCo's marketing and distribution capabilities."