Honest Approach for Coke

March 1/Atlanta/M2 PressWIRE -- Honest Tea and The Coca-Cola Company announced that The Coca-Cola Company has exercised its option to acquire the remaining portion of Honest Tea. The move completes a transaction which began three years ago when Coca-Cola, led by the Venturing and Emerging Brands (VEB) unit of Coca-Cola North America, purchased a minority stake in the company. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Honest Tea will continue to be based out of Bethesda, MD. In order to retain its entrepreneurial culture, it will operate as a stand-alone business under current TeaEO Seth Goldman, his management team, and current Honest Tea employees. Goldman and VEB have developed a unique operating model that allows Honest Tea autonomy to continue to run its day-to-day operations while accessing the scale benefits of the Coca-Cola system in various areas, including manufacturing and distribution. As part of the VEB team, Honest Tea will also begin to sell current VEB brands to the natural channel.

Under an innovative arrangement with The Coca-Cola Company, Goldman has chosen to reinvest most of his proceeds from the sale back into Honest Tea. Goldman's co-founder, Barry Nalebuff and Gary Hirshberg, CE-YO of Stonyfield Farm, will continue to provide informal guidance to Honest Tea as part of the Advisory Council.

"We started Honest Tea 13 years ago with an ambitious mission to create a delicious, healthy beverage alternative produced with the health of our planet and our consumers in mind," said Seth Goldman, co-founder, president and TeaEO of Honest Tea. "Over the past three years, it has been exciting to see the reach and impact of our mission expand as a result of our partnership with The Coca-Cola Company."

From the March 7, 2011, Prepared Foods E-dition