On Monday, Coca-Cola announced it had acquired full ownership of the Kobe Bryant-backed sports drink company Bodyarmor.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Bryant’s estate made around $400 million from the sale. Bryant was an early investor in BodyArmor, purchasing a 10 percent stake in the company for $6 million in March of 2014. At the time, the celebrated basketball player was the third-largest investor in the brand.
“If it wasn’t for Kobe Bryant’s vision and belief, BodyArmor would not have been able to achieve the success we had,” BodyArmor co-founder Mike Repole said in a statement.
The BodyArmor sale reportedly marks Coke’s largest beverage brand acquisition to date. The company previously bought Glaceau SmartWater for $4.1 billion in 2007 and spent $5.1 billion to buy Costa Coffee in 2018. That same year, Coke bought its initial 15 percent stake in BodyArmor, becoming the brand’s second-largest shareholder just above Bryant.
On Monday, Coca-Cola North America President Alfredo Rivera said the company is now planning BodyArmor’s “next stage of growth” and expects the brand to generate around $1.4 billion in sales this year.
Vanessa Bryant, Bryant’s wife, has worked to keep her husband’s legacy alive and has managed several of his business ventures since his tragic death. Last month, she filed a trademark application for “KB24” in plans to launch a multi-media sports enterprise, which will reportedly include sports cards, food and drink containers and T-shirts.
Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others sadly passed away last January in a helicopter crash while en route to the Mamba Sports Academy for a basketball game.
Coca-Cola’s acquisition of Bodyarmor is part of an effort to take on Pepsi’s Gatorade, the sports drink market leader with an estimated 70 percent market share.