The Coca-Cola Company has announced its intentions to acquire a controlling interest in sports drink brand Bodyarmor, after notifying US antitrust regulators.

“We can confirm that The Coca-Cola Company has filed a pre-acquisition notification with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) relating to its intent to acquire a controlling interest in Bodyarmor,” said a Coca-Cola spokesperson, in an email statement to FoodBev.

Meanwhile, Bodyarmor told FoodBev that the deal was still ‘premature’ and there remains other potential courses of action for the business.

“Although Coca-Cola buying a controlling interest in Bodyarmor is a distinct possibility, reports that Coca-Cola is purchasing a controlling interest in Bodyarmor are premature. While this is one scenario for Bodyarmor, there are other potential options for the future of the business,” said Bodyarmor co-founder, Mike Repole, in an emailed statement.

Bodyarmor produces a range of sports drinks for the US market which are made with coconut water and without artificial colours or flavours. Earlier this year, the brand launched a new sports drink line with natural caffeine called Bodyarmor Edge.

Coca-Cola first purchased a minority stake in Bodyarmor back in 2018, with the option to increase its ownership stake in the company in the future. At the time of the 2018 filing, Beverage Digest says Bodyarmor was worth $2 billion.

With the 2018 transaction, Coca-Cola became the second largest shareholder in Bodyarmor, behind co-founder and chairman Mike Repole. Meanwhile, basketball star Kobe Bryant remained the third largest shareholder in the brand. The exact stake that Coca-Cola now intends to acquire is unknown.

“In 2018, Coca-Cola became a shareholder in Bodyarmor, in a deal that was structured to create value for both companies while also defining a path to ownership in the future. Until closing, both companies will continue to operate independently in accordance with their existing agreement,” continued the Coca-Cola spokesperson.

If completed, Beverage Digest says the transaction would leave Coca-Cola with the second- and third-largest sports drinks brands in the US.