PepsiCo will acquire Rockstar Energy in a $3.85 billion deal, doubling down on energy drinks and with an eye toward turning around its struggling Mountain Dew brand.
Pepsi has had a distribution agreement with privately held Rockstar in North America since 2009. Pepsi CFO Hugh Johnston said that the company's distribution contract with Rockstar restricted it from innovating in energy drinks or partnering with others.
If the deal closes, Pepsi will be able to form partnerships with other energy drink makers, according to Johnston. Stifel analyst Mark Astrachan wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday that he had heard that Pepsi is interested in a distribution agreement with VPX, which owns performance energy drink Bang. Pepsi and Bang did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The food and beverage giant said that it does not expect the Rockstar acquisition to have a material impact on its revenue or earnings per share in 2020. If regulators approve the deal, it is expected to close in the first half of 2020.
Excluding Rockstar, Pepsi's energy drink portfolio leans on Mountain Dew's name recognition through Mountain Dew-branded Kickstart, GameFuel and AMP.
Total energy drink and energy shot sales in the United States grew by 29.8% from 2013 to 2018, reaching an estimated $13.5 billion in sales last year, according to Mintel data. Energy drinks, which represent 92% of the energy market, are entirely responsible for that growth, Mintel found.
"As we work to be more consumer-centric and capitalize on rising demand in the functional beverage space, this highly strategic acquisition will enable us to leverage PepsiCo's capabilities to both accelerate Rockstar's performance and unlock our ability to expand in the category with existing brands such as Mountain Dew," said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta.
Centerview Partners acted as financial advisor to PepsiCo. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher acted as lead counsel to PepsiCo. Goldman Sachs acted as financial advisor to Rockstar, with King & Spalding acting as Rockstar's legal counsel.