Consumer Products

As Keurig Green Mountain Finds More Coca-Cola Love, Is SodaStream Next?

Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) is seeing yet another rise this week, a week after positive earnings news. Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) now has agreed to raise its stake in Keurig to the maximum 16% of the company. Prior to the release of the SEC filing that confirmed the common stock purchases, Coca-Cola had owned 10% of the outstanding shares.

While the reaction is not indicating much on this front, it seems at least possible that this could be an ultimate incentive for SodaStream International Ltd. (NASDAQ: SODA).

Tuesday’s SEC filing showed that between May 8 and May 12, 2014, the Atlantic subsidiary of Coca-Cola purchased a total of 2,805,591 shares of Keurig common stock in the open market using cash on hand. On May 12, 2014, Atlantic entered into a letter agreement with Credit Suisse Capital for accelerated share purchases. As of the filing date, Coca-Cola and its entities beneficially own an aggregate of 26,037,771 shares of common stock.

The total number of shares includes 19,489,730 shares of common stock held by Atlantic, and Atlantic has the right to acquire up to 6,548,041 shares of common stock under the existing agreement. Coca-Cola has agreed to purchase the 6.548 million shares, or to equal up to 16% of the outstanding shares.

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If you are looking for a rationale for the deal, Coke is calling it a substantial growth opportunity. Now consider that most soda water soft drinks in America are experiencing market share deterioration. Coke is looking for growth wherever it can find it.

Keep in mind that Keurig shares were close to $81 in early February before this 10% stake was purchased by Coca-Cola entities. Shares were just above $110 on Monday, and they were trading up another 10% to $121.86 in mid-morning trading.

As far as SodaStream is concerned, keep in mind that whatever Coca-Cola does, PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) has to at least consider the same sort of move. The same is true the other way around as well, although Coca-Cola has so far remained focused on beverages while Pepsi is beverages and snack foods. There have been rumors that Pepsi could do a deal with SodaStream, but the question is what sort of deal it would be.

SodaStream has a market cap of less than $900 million. That means Pepsi could buy the entire company for less than the whole investment by Coca-Cola into Keurig Green Mountain. Will that take place? Time will tell, but SodaStream shares were down almost 2% at $40.89 in mid-morning trading.

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