Innocent Drinks sells stake to Coca-Cola

Richard Reed and co sell 20% to the soft drinks empire


Innocent Drinks, the smoothie drinks company which espouses ethical business practices, has sold a 20% stake to the global giant Coca-Cola.

The company, which was founded in 1999 by former advertising executive Richard Reed and management and business consultants Jon Wright and Adam Balon, has always marketed itself with an anti-corporate edge. The business has also made much of its ethical values and green credentials, as well as the supposed wholesome nature of its fruit drinks which are served in plastic bottles. Therefore the deal with Coca-Cola, which has been criticised by health campaigners and environmental groups, is likely to cause disquiet in some quarters. The details of the deal, which makes Coca-Cola at 20% stakeholder, have not been disclosed, however in a statement the founders said that the shareholders were not receiving cash out of the deal. “Basically, we’re dead excited about the investment. The funds raised allow us to do more of what innocent is here to do – get natural, healthy stuff out to as many people as possible. “And the money raised is going into the business to fund our European expansion, so we can get innocent out to more places (none of the cash is being paid out to the shareholders; that desert island will just have to wait).” © Crimson Business Ltd. 2009

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