Coca-Cola Co. has bought a minority stake in San Diego’s organic-juice maker Suja Life LLC. The partnership will expand the juice company’s distribution, according to Suja’s chief executive Jeff Church.
Suja, which makes organic juices and smoothies, also said Goldman Sachs Group Inc's merchant banking division had taken a minority stake in the juice maker.
Coca-Cola will begin distributing Suja’s juice through its Odwalla delivery system and will provide funds for a new manufacturing plant, Church said in a statement Wednesday.
Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but Reuters put Suja’s valuation in the deal at $300 million.
Suja’s product is organic, cold-pressed juice from non-genetically modified organisms — health-centric buzzwords that have helped fuel revenue.
In less than four years, Suja has grown from a meager $700,000 in annual revenue to $42 million last year and an estimated $70 million this year. Forbes has named Suja the second most promising company in the nation, and the fastest-growing beverage company in America.
The deal would put some energy into Coke’s premium juice business with Suja’s high unit cost products — around $9 per bottle — in high-end natural retailers like Whole Foods while also reaching into conventional and club chains as well.