Coca-Cola to gain full control of Innocent

Posted on 25 Feb 2013

The founders of smoothie company Innocent have agreed to sell nearly all of their remaining 42% of shares to Coca-Cola.

The drinks giant previously purchased 58% of Innocent in 2010 for £65 million.

Richard Reed, co-founder of the smoothie producer together with Adam Balon and Jon Wright, said: “Any great business has to outlive its original founders. Our aim was to make Innocent a global brand and take its ethical values to the world’s consumers. We decided that we would be able to do a better job of that with Coke.”

“Given the success of our relationship up to this point, Coca-Cola will be increasing their investment, supporting continued innovation and international expansion.”

He added that Innocent will continue to be run as a separate business unit with a management structure independent of Coca-Cola.

The size of the deal was not disclosed but it is believed to reflect the exponential growth of the business in the past three.

Since Coca-Cola’s initial investment four years ago, Innocent has become the largest smoothie maker in Europe with turnover having doubled since 2008 to £209m last year.

Innocent’s founders will retain a minority equity holding and sit on an Executive Committee which will continue to advise the business.