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BETHESDA, Md. -- Honest Tea, Inc. here and the Coca-Cola Co., based in Atlanta, have completed an agreement for Coca-Cola to buy about a 40 percent interest in the country's best-selling and fastest-growing organic bottled tea company. In the future Coca-Cola may elect to buy, and the remaining Honest Tea shareholders may elect to sell to Coca-Cola, the outstanding interest not currently owned by the soft drink giant. Financial terms of the investment were not revealed.
"We started Honest Tea 10 years ago with five thermoses and an ambitious vision for offering a new type of beverage -- a delicious, healthier drink produced with a consciousness about the way the ingredients are grown," said Honest Tea co-founder and "TeaEO" Seth Goldman in a statement, adding that "this investment from the world's largest beverage company [would] help take our brand and our mission to a larger scale and wider audience."
Coca-Cola North America's Venturing and Emerging Brands Business Unit identified the strategic opportunity. "Honest Tea is on the forefront of the rapidly growing organic beverage business, and Seth Goldman and his management team have successfully anticipated and met consumer needs in this expanding category," noted Deryck van Rensburg, president and general manager, Venturing and Emerging Brands, Coca-Cola North America.
In addition to Honest Tea, the company offers Honest Tea ready-to-drink teas, Honest Ade thirst quenchers in plastic bottles, and Honest Kids pouch drinks. All varieties are certified organic.
Gary Hirshberg, president and CE-Yo of Vermont-based Stonyfield Farm and longtime board member of Honest Tea, will remain a member of Honest Tea's board.