Kobe Bryant

With Bodyarmor's Sale to Coca-Cola, Kobe Bryant's Estate Will See Estimated $400M

Bryant first became a shareholder in sports drink maker Bodyarmor in 2013.

Split of Kobe Bryant and Bodyarmor sports drink
Getty Images

Coca-Cola announced Monday it had bought full control of sports-drink startup Bodyarmor for $5.6 billion, CNBC reports, netting the estate of late basketball legend Kobe Bryant an estimated $400 million on the sale.

The NBA star, who died in a tragic helicopter crash in January 2020, invested in Bodyarmor in 2014 for a 10% stake in the company and joined its board of directors. At the time, Bryant was the company's third-largest shareholder.

"I put my skin in the game," Bryant told Forbes in 2014, after his hefty investment.

In a tribute to Bryant, Coke announced its purchase at exactly 8:24 a.m. to commemorate the two jersey numbers the Los Angeles Lakers star wore during his NBA tenure. 

Coke originally bought a 15% stake in Bodyarmor in 2018 and became its second-largest shareholder. Monday's move to purchase the remaining 85% marks Coke's largest acquisition in the company's history.

BodyArmor was co-founded in 2011 by Mike Repole, who just four years earlier had sold his previous company, Glacéau, for $4.1 billion — also to Coke. Glacéau is the maker of SmartWater and VitaminWater.

The deal has been in the works since at least February, based on a pre-acquisition filing with the Federal Trade Commission, CNBC reports.

Bryant's estate, which Forbes reported to be worth up to $600 million at the time of his death and is now controlled by his widow Vanessa Bryant, will see a roughly $400 million payoff from the deal, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Bryant showed business prowess after his 2016 retirement from the NBA, with dealings in a variety of sectors that included "a media production company and a venture capital fund to invest in tech, media and data companies," NBC News reported in 2020.

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