- So why didn't Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) just go all the way and acquire all of Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:MNST) instead of stopping at an asset swap and a 16.7% stake?
- More than anything, "it's about protecting the [Coke] brand and the image" from a company that urges consumers to "unleash the beast" with drinks such as Assault and Khaos, said a person close to Coke.
- Coke figures it deals with enough controversy from those who blame sugary sodas for obesity and diabetes; it wants to keep at arm's length from the more serious public relations battles facing the energy drinks industry, including an FDA probe over deaths possibly linked to Monster.
- On the financial side, the deal involves a reasonable $2.1B cash up front, while a full acquisition would have required at least $12B based on Thursday's closing stock price - roughly equivalent to the amount of cash Coke had on hand at the end of July.
- Despite the cautious approach, Coke could still own Monster some day; a standstill agreement limits KO to increasing its stake to 25% over four years, but MNST's board can waive it at any time.
Coke chooses caution, sees too much risk in swallowing all of Monster
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