PepsiCo completes purchase of Israel's SodaStream
PepsiCo announced Wednesday it had completed its acquisition of Israeli firm SodaStream, whose command of the fizzy water market appealed to the US beverage giant as demand falls for sugar-laden soft drinks.
PepsiCo said in August that it was buying the Israeli company, which makes machines to carbonate home tap water, for $3.2 billion in the top American food and beverage company's largest acquisition in nearly a decade.
"With its customizable options, SodaStream empowers consumers to personalize their preferred beverage in an environmentally friendly way and provides PepsiCo with a significant presence in the at-home marketplace," PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta said in a statement.
"Together with SodaStream, I'm confident we can accelerate progress on our shared goal of curbing plastic waste and building a more sustainable future."
SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said his company "was founded to bring healthy, convenient and environmentally friendly beverage options to consumers around the world -- and PepsiCo will help us deliver and expand on this mission."
PepsiCo and arch-rival Coca-Cola have been diversifying away from their mainstay sodas in part to counter the onset of anti-obesity sugar taxes around the world and as a pitch to consumers concerned about mounting waste in landfills around the world.
SodaStream, a small water carbonating machine found in many Israeli homes, provides an alternative “to single-use plastic bottles which are being revealed as a hazard not only to the environment but also to human health,” according to the company's CEO Daniel Barinboim.
SodaStream was founded in 1991 and employs some 3,500 workers who produce nearly 500,000 machines each month for sale in 46 countries worldwide.
The company has not been immune to the complex politics in its home region, but PepsiCo has committed to keeping SodaStream's Israeli headquarters for 15 years.
In 2015, the company folded to international criticism for basing its production in Ma’ale Adumim, a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, and moved its headquarters to Tel Aviv and its production to Rahat, a Bedouin city in Israel’s south.
The move followed a boycott campaign that included targeting Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson after she advertised its product.
Before the move, SodaStream employed hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank unable to obtain permits to work in Israel. Palestinian workers could not stay with the company when it moved to less politically charged territory.
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