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Keurig Dr Pepper’s talks with Bang Energy fall apart

Aug. 19, 2022 Updated Fri., Aug. 19, 2022 at 3:10 p.m.

Dr Pepper bottles are shown in this photo from 2021.   (Bloomberg )
Dr Pepper bottles are shown in this photo from 2021.  (Bloomberg )
By Chrystal Tse and Gillian Tan Bloomberg

Keurig Dr Pepper Inc.’s takeover talks with Vital Pharmaceuticals Inc., the closely held maker of Bang Energy drinks, have fallen apart, according to people familiar with the matter.

Early-stage talks between the companies were active this week but broke off after news of the potential deal became public, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

“KDP is not currently pursuing an acquisition of Bang Energy,” a representative for Keurig Dr Pepper said in an emailed statement Friday.

“As we have shared numerous times, our top capital allocation priority is growing our business through M&A and brand/distribution partnerships and, as such, we continue to be quite active in evaluating opportunities that arise,” the representative said.

A representative for Vital Pharmaceuticals, also known as VPX, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

A tie-up between the two companies would have been the latest deal in a rapidly consolidating beverage market.

VPX was founded in 1993 by Jack Owoc, who touts the science and research behind its products.

Burlington, Massachusetts-based Keurig Dr Pepper, which has a market capitalization of about $57 billion and is backed by investment firm JAB Holding Co., was formed through the 2018 merger of Dr Pepper Snapple and Keurig Green Mountain.

Analysts held an unfavorable view of the deal strategically for KDP. Jefferies Financial Group Inc.’s Kevin Grundy wrote in a note that PepsiCo Inc.’s inability to turn around Rockstar could mean similar challenges for KDP with Bang Energy.

Stifel Financial Corp. analysts led by Mark Astrachan said in a note to clients on Thursday that KDP has had limited success selling energy drinks and Bang would have lost meaningful distribution points under new ownership.

Big beverage companies have been bulking up in energy drinks.

Pepsi this month said it would pay $550 million for a stake in fitness-energy drink maker Celsius Holdings Inc. as part of a long-term strategic distribution agreement.

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