Coca-Cola Co is nearing a deal to buy a minority stake in U.S. organic juice company Suja Life LLC, people familiar with the matter said on Friday, as the soft drink giant tries to identify the next big hit with consumers.
Carbonated beverages have suffered from slow growth in recent years as consumer sentiment shifts toward healthier beverages. Coca-Cola’s investment would value Suja, a start-up that counts Hollywood celebrities as investors, at around $300 million, the sources said.
“Better position it to compete against PepsiCo Inc’s Naked Juice brands”
The deal, which gives Coca-Cola the option to buy the remainder of Suja in three years, would strengthen the Atlanta-based company’s hold on the cold-pressed juice sector and better position it to compete against PepsiCo Inc’s Naked Juice brands. It would be Coca-Cola’s second investment in the sector, following the purchase of Odwalla in 2001.
The sources asked not to be identified because the investment is not yet public. Representatives for Coca-Cola and Suja did not respond to requests for comment.