Vita Coco sells 25% stake to Red Bull China

Vita Coco sells 25% stake to Red Bull China

Leading U.S. coconut water brand extends reach into China through Red Bull China’s extensive distribution network.

Vita Coco, one of the fastest growing beverage brands globally and the U.S. leader in coconut water sales, announced plans to bring the coconut water brand to China for the first time. The new distribution comes through an exclusive agreement with Red Bull China, which also acquired a stake in privately held All Market Inc., the maker of Vita Coco.

The announcement was confirmed by Vita Coco CEO Michael Kirban, who co-founded Vita Coco in 2004 with friend Ira Liran. In the decade since the two created the brand, New York-based Vita Coco has grown into a multi-million dollar beverage brand now sold throughout the U.S., many European countries and Japan.

“Vita Coco’s growth in the U.S. has been well documented, less so the brand’s exponential growth in Europe and more recently, Japan. We expect China to follow suit. Outside the U.S., Vita Coco sales are growing as much as 300 percent in certain markets,” says Kirban. “Vita Coco is quickly becoming a globally recognized brand and we’re thrilled with the new alliance.”

Vita Coco sold approximately 25 percent of the business to Reignwood Group, the parent company of Red Bull China, at an enterprise valuation of US $665,000,000. The alliance with Red Bull China will offer Vita Coco country-wide availability via Red Bull China’s existing distribution and retail network, allowing the coconut water brand to reach some 1.3 billion consumers in a country that has long appreciated the taste and functional benefits of natural coconut water.

“We immediately recognized the potential for the Vita Coco brand in China,” says Chanchai Ruayrungruang, chairman and founder of Reignwood Group. “The brand’s proposition and values are an ideal fit for Reignwood Group’s growth strategy and we are confident health-minded Chinese consumers will quickly embrace and remain loyal to the Vita Coco brand.”

Vita Coco has enjoyed extraordinary success in the past few years. After celebrities like Madonna and Matthew McConaughey invested in the brand in 2010, Vita Coco became the sales leader in the crowded U.S. coconut water category with a 60 percent market share.

The brand enlisted pop star Rihanna as the face of its 2011 and 2012 advertising campaigns, expanded into a dozen international markets and last year launched a new line of children’s beverages, Vita Coco Kids.

Barclays Plc is acting as financial advisor to Vita Coco. Giannuzzi Group LLP is acting as legal advisor.

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