Consumer Products

What Will Coca-Cola Acquire Next?

With its $5 billion acquisition of the Costa coffee shop chain, Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) once more has shown its commitment to expanding its footprint and the diversity of its offerings through bolt-on acquisitions. Investors must be asking themselves what’s next.

There is no shortage of options, and here are a few that would cost Coca-Cola about the same as the Costa acquisition or even less.

Without straying too far outside its soft-drink category, Coca-Cola might consider New Age Beverages Corp. (NASDAQ: NBEV) or Primo Water Corp. (NASDAQ: PRMW). The former specializes in healthy, ready-to-drink beverages, such as energy and rehydration drinks, and it has a market cap of around $60 million. The latter offers water in multi-gallon bottles, and it has a market cap of less than $800 million.

If Coca-Cola intends to stay focused on coffee for the time being, perhaps Farmer Bros. Co. (NASDAQ: FARM) could be a potential target. This distributor of coffee and other beverage and food products sports a market cap near $500 million.

DAVIDsTEA Inc. (NASDAQ: DTEA) and Hain Celestial Group Inc. (NASDAQ: HAIN) both are known for their tea offerings. The latter’s products also include snacks, packaged foods and even personal care products. Hain has a market cap of about $3 billion, while other’s is a mere $80 million or so.

If Coca-Cola is interested in expanding into snacks to be more like rival PepsiCo Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP), one place to start may be with either J&J Snack Foods Corp. (NASDAQ: JJSF) or TreeHouse Foods Inc. (NYSE: THS). They both have market caps of less than $3 million. J&J products include pretzels, desserts and more, while TreeHouse offers various snacks, baked goods and condiments. Both also have beverage offerings.

For a little more high-profile option, there is Hostess Brands Inc. (NASDAQ: TWNK), which has a market cap over $1 billion dollars. It is, of course, the maker of Twinkies and so much more.

But back to beverages. It’s not too difficult to image a Coca-Cola takeover of Jamba Inc. (NASDAQ: JMBA), which operates and franchises about 800 Jamba Juice stores that offer smoothies and such. Jamba’s market cap is a little over $200 million. [It turns out that Coke is too late on this one, as Jamba is being acquired by Focus Brands.]

Coca-Cola is not known for its dairy offerings, but an acquisition of Dean Foods Co. (NYSE: DF) could change that. Dean products include milk, butter and ice creams, and it has a market cap of less than $700 million.

And if Coca-Cola really wanted to go outside the soft-drink category, might it consider Boston Beer Co. Inc. (NYSE: SAM), with its market cap of more than $3 billion? Its offerings include not only beer, but hard sparkling water, hard cider and spiked teas as well.

There are many, many other options, including beyond the United States. Or Coca-Cola could decide to not make another acquisition in the foreseeable future. Time will tell.

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