Coca-Cola becomes majority shareholder in Innocent

Coca-Cola has increased its stake in Innocent to almost 60%, though the company’s founders will retain operational control of the business.

Innocent campaign
Innocent campaign

The soft drinks giant already had an 18% stake in the smoothes maker, and now increases its stake by 40% to take the majority shareholding in the company.

The deal involves Coca-Cola buying the shares of innocent’s two original start-up investors, who want to retire.  In addition, each of the founders of innocent will relinquish a minority of their own shares, but retain the majority of them.

The agreement is subject to approval by the competent merger control authorities.

According to the Britvic Soft Drinks Report, smoothies saw sales fall by 28% in the past year and account for just 1% of the soft drinks marketplace and 0.3% of the impulse purchase marketplace.

Innocent says that its founders Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright will retain operational control of the business and will continue to pursue their mission of getting healthy, natural food and drinks to as many people in as many places as possible – as well as pushing hard for better social and environmental standards across the business and donating 10% of profits to charity.  

Reed says: “The deal allows our original investors to retire and realise the value they helped create and Coca-Cola gets to increase its investment in the business and we strengthen our relationship with a partner that can help our international expansion.”

“Importantly for us, the founders, we keep the majority of our shares and will continue to run the business with full operational control.”

Coca-Cola regional president James Quincey adds: “Our relationship is working well and the founders will continue to lead the business. We will do all we can to help innocent make its products available to more consumers in Europe.”

Innocent recently announced a partnership with National Trust for an on-pack promotion that aims to increase the bee population, which begins later this month.

The company has set out new plans to triple its business within two years by targeting 300,000 impulse outlets and cash and carries. It hopes the new outlets will help to add at least £50m of new sales by 2012, and will back the sales drive with a £2m marketing campaign, including a summer poster push.

Innocent will also give retailers new point-of-sale material including window posters and shelf strips, as well as £1.49 price-marked packs and discounts. Commercial director Dave Pickup is spearheading the new sales and marketing push, which also includes the This Waters range.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here