Coca-Cola Quenches Thirst With $2.15 Billion Monster Buy

Coca-Cola Quenches Thirst With $2.15 Billion Monster Buy Ashley Rose/Flickr

Coca-Cola Company has agreed to purchase a 16.7 percent stake in Monster Beverage Corporation for $2.15 billion in cash as it looks to accelerate its growth in the booming energy drink business.

As part of the deal, Coca-Cola would transfer its worldwide energy business—which includes brands like NOS, Full Throttle, Burn and Relentless—to Monster, and appoint two people to Monster’s board of directors. In exchange, Monster would issue to Coca-Cola 16.7 percent of its common stock shares and transfer its nonenergy business—including Hansen’s Natural Sodas, Peace Tea and Hubert’s Lemonade—in hopes of expanding their distribution globally.

Coca-Cola turned to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom for legal counsel on the deal, while Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton advised on antitrust matters. Jones Day led the deal team for Monster.

Under the agreement, Coca-Cola will become Monster’s preferred distribution partner globally and Monster will become Coca-Cola’s exclusive energy player. The deal will open global distribution channels for Monster, which had previously been limited to the U.S.

Monster chairman and CEO Rodney Sacks said in a statement that he is pleased to have access to Coca-Cola’s distribution channels, which he called “the most powerful and extensive system in the world.”

Coca-Cola also applauded the deal. “Our equity investment in Monster is a capital- efficient way to bolster our participation in the fast-growing and attractive global energy drinks category,” Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola chairman and CEO, said in the statement.

The deal is expected to close in late 2014 or early 2015, pending customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

The Skadden team advising Coca-Cola was led by M&A partners Martha McGarry, Peter Serating and Thomas Greenberg, with assistance from intellectual property and technology partner Bruce Goldner and counsel Oren Epstein, as well as tax partner David Rievman. Associates Jonathan Ashtor, Kristen Greeley, Yiyang Huang, Dohyun Kim and Catherine Matloub also advised.

Skadden represented Coca-Cola on another deal six months earlier, in which the company agreed to a $1.25 billion merger with Israeli company Green Mountain Coffee, the makers of Keurig.

Cleary did not respond to an inquiry by The Am Law Daily about its deal team for Coca-Cola, but Legal Week reports that antitrust partners Mark Leddy, Leah Brannon and Nicholas Levy all advised.

Leading the deal team for Monster from Jones Day were M&A partners Bob Profusek and Andy Levine. Also on the deal were antitrust partners David Wales and Ken Field and tax partner Ed Kennedy.

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