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Published on BeNET.com

Written by Ray Latif

Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG) has increased its ownership position in BodyArmor, having invested an additional $6 million in the premium sports drink brand. The deal, finalized in March, comes approximately seven months after DPSG acquired an 11.7 percent stake in BodyArmor for $20 million. DPSG now owns 15.5 percent of the brand, and, as a result of the investment, is the second largest shareholder behind BodyArmor chairman and co-founder Mike Repole.

In a call with BevNET, Repole said that the funding will go toward new staffing and marketing initiatives, including an upcoming media campaign scheduled to launch this week.

Formulated with natural electrolytes, coconut water and vitamins, BodyArmor is marketed as a natural and better-for-you alternative to sports drinks that are made with artificial ingredients. Launched in 2012 by serial beverage entrepreneur Lance Collins and Repole, the former president of vitaminwater, the brand is distributed nationally and has been part of DPSG’s allied brand portfolio since 2013. DPSG’s direct store delivery system manages distribution of BodyArmor in 34 states; it’s represented by independent wholesalers in other parts of the U.S. Repole praised the partnership with DPSG as key to BodyArmor’s development.

“Dr Pepper Snapple Group gives us the distribution muscle to compete nationally with Gatorade and Powerade,” Repole said. “This [investment] solidifies their confidence in the brand. We have a great relationship, and I think we have the same vision for what we see in this sports drink category and what we see for the potential of BodyArmor.”

Although Gatorade and Powerade collectively hold a 98 percent share of the sports drink category, BodyArmor is growing fast. Sales of the brand reached $47 million in multi-outlet channels (not including convenience stores) over a 52-week period ending on March 21, according to data provided by IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. The figure represents a 190 percent increase in sales from a year prior.

BodyArmor sales are even more impressive in the convenience channel and other independent retailers, Repole said. He projects total sales of the brand to reach $150 million by the end of the year.

To support growth, BodyArmor will continue to lean on an impressive roster of professional athlete endorsers, including Andrew Luck, Mike Trout, James Harden, Richard Sherman and Dez Bryant — all of whom are also investors in the brand. Perhaps its best-known athlete partner is Kobe Bryant, who in 2014 acquired an estimated 10 percent of BodyArmor.

The Giannuzzi Group, LLP acted as legal counsel to BodyArmor.