Coca-Cola plans energy drinks under namesake brand

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Coca-Cola Co said on Thursday (Nov 8) it plans to launch two energy drinks under its namesake brand, its latest move to diversify away from sugary sodas.

The company on Thursday told Reuters it was working on plans to launch new drinks which would be branded "Coca-Cola Energy" and "Coca-Cola Energy No Sugar" and made with naturally-derived caffeine and guarana extract.

Coke is now in arbitration with Monster Beverage, another maker of energy drinks, over the launch of the new products.

"We have submitted the difference in interpretation to an arbitration panel for resolution, which is the mechanism agreed by the Coca-Cola Company and Monster in the original agreements", a Coca-Cola spokesperson said.

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Astrachan said Coca-Cola may be using the launch to enhance the consumption of trademark Coke drinks rather than materially change its relationship with Monster that is now worth about USD6 billion.

Analysts on Thursday were divided over whether the dustup was a signal that Coke might eventually acquire Monster - a scenario that has always been the subject of investor speculation.

Guggenheim disagreed on grounds that Coke's new products demonstrate how keen the beverage king is on the high-growth energy category.

"Ultimately, we think this adds credence to our thesis that Coca-Cola will eventually acquire Monster Beverage, although not likely before the end of 2019", Guggenheim said. Monster shares fell 10 percent after news of the arbitration.

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