Izze sold to Pepsi: Congratulations, neighbors!
From the perspective of the world of dotcom companies, a $75 million valuation might not be much, but congratulations are nonetheless in order for Colorado local carbonated beverage company Izze Beverage Co. which today announced its acquisition by beverage giant Pepsi (NYSE: PEP).
Pepsi is an interesting conglomerate, actually, and it'll be quite fascinating to see how tiny Izze fits into the corporate culture. Already an informal local poll here in Boulder, Colorado elicited a response of "oh, too bad" from my spouse when told of the acquisition.
Pepsi owns Tropicana, Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Frito-Lay, and within those brand lines are rather a number of reasonably healthy products, but still, nimble little guy swallowed by huge evil corporation is a tale that will be told many times in the next few weeks...
The Pepsi line itself, for example, includes Aquafina water, Lipton Iced Tea, SoBe drinks and juices and, a big hit, the cobranded Starbucks Frappuccino and DoubleShot beverages. (alright, the Starbucks drinks aren't particularly healthy. But they're good! :-) Check out retailer-focused IWantToServePepsi.com and you can easily imagine how they could slip the healthy and popular Izze line into thousands of establishments worldwide.
With the Frito-Lay line, there's even an area focused on Health and Wellness though healthy or not, junk food is still junk food. Frito-Lay also has its expensive Smartspot.com "healthy lifestyle" campaign, where products like Life cereal, Quaker oatmeal and Quaker Chewy granola bars are featured, along with beverages like Tropicana juice.
How does Izze Soda fit in with the Frito-Lay line? Well, there is the page about Natural and Organic Products, but a closer look reveals that the key concept here is "no junk in the ingredients", e.g., no preservatives, no added colors, nothing artificial. Some are even organic.
Maybe Tropicana is a better fit within the Pepsi Bottling Group world? Not really, it's just their line of orange and grapefruit juices. The Pepsi beverage group is the soda side of the business, and I've already pointed out that there's not much healthy in its lineup.
The Quaker line has an astonishing range of products, from Cap'n Crunch cereal to Rice-a-Roni, and, hidden in its midst, there's a soulmate for recently acquired Izze Soda: The Near East line of falafel, couscous and related products.
It's rather reassuring to find that in the Pepsi lineup, actually, because it suggests that Izze won't be a black sheep, albeit a healthy black sheep, in the Pepsi brand, but rather perhaps another harbinger of the customer-driven push towards healthier drink and snack options.
At the end of the day, Izze is a local company that's suddenly hit the big time with this acquisition. The company employes fifteen employees locally in its headquarters, and I'm guessing another 10-15 more in the field, which makes its valuation very nice indeed. I would like to think that there are a number of employees who are toasting a pleasant bit of local business news tonight, with a delicious blueberry or pomegranate Izze.
Oh, and one cool thing: While Izze doesn't have a blog, it does have an RSS feed for people interested in the latest news and additions to its FAQ. That might now represent one of the first incursions of an RSS news feed into the entire Pepsi kingdom.
Posted by Dave Taylor at September 26, 2006 11:15 PM
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