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Reed’s, Jones Soda look to merge businesses

BY Allison Cerra

LOS ANGELES Two beverage makers have signed a letter of intent to merge their businesses.

Reed’s and Jones Soda announced said the proposed merger would combine the two, with Reed’s as the surviving company. In a joint statement, the companies said the merger would “provide the two companies with the opportunity to realize the potential benefits of increased size and scale, as well as cost efficiencies in several aspects of the combined business, including administration, operations, and customer interface.”

The non-binding provisions of the LOI contemplate a merger transaction in which Reed’s would acquire Jones Soda for a combination of cash and Reed’s common stock. The transaction also would be subject to approval of the shareholders of both Jones Soda and Reed’s.

Chris Reed, founder, chairman and CEO of Reed’s stated, “We have watched Jones for years and have been impressed with its innovative marketing programs, strong brand recognition, and loyal customer following. I am confident that our portfolio of brands will benefit from Jones Soda’s marketing savvy as well as its organization’s deep mainstream distribution relationships. At the same time, we believe our strong infrastructure and operational capabilities will help drive important efficiencies through Jones Soda’s supply chain. With minimal customer and demographic overlap between our combined brands, we believe this transaction also provides us with compelling merchandising and growth opportunities in the years ahead.”

In related news, Jones Soda CEO Joth Ricci will be stepping down effective April 2, in order to pursue other business opportunities.

“I have truly enjoyed my time at Jones Soda and I’m pleased with the work our team has done to improve many aspects of our business. Unfortunately, due to the current market conditions, it has taken longer than anticipated to produce the necessary top line results to effectively return to profitability and stem our cash burn. However, I remain confident in the strength of the Jones Soda brand and believe the proposed merger with Reed’s provides Jones Soda an improved platform from which to capitalize on its future prospects and is in the best interests of its shareholders.”

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Drank rolls into Tennessee

BY Allison Cerra

HOUSTON Drank has made its way to The Volunteer State.

Innovative Beverage Group announced it has inked a deal with two Tennessee-based beverage distributors, Clark Distributing and Central Distributors, to sell Drank, the ultimate relaxation beverage.

“Joining forces with two prestigious beverage distributors such as Central and Clark provides Drank with even more credibility in Tennessee,” said Peter Bianchi, CEO of Innovative Beverage Group. “By partnering with them, we have the opportunity to line our product on store shelves alongside other household name products, further solidifying Drank’s place in pop culture conversations and consumers’ refrigerators.

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Luna launches first organic protein bar for women

BY Allison Cerra

BERKELEY, Calif. Nutrition bar maker Luna announced the launch of its first high-protein bar for women made with entirely natural and organic ingredients.

Luna Protein satiates hunger and helps women more easily fit protein into their diet, the company said. At just under 200 calories, Luna Protein is a nourishing and delicious snack that satisfies sweet cravings with a chocolate coating and nougat texture— the closest consistency to a candy bar that Luna has ever offered. Additionally, it offers key vitamins and minerals essential to women’s everyday needs, such as calcium, iron, folic acid and vitamin D.

“Women shouldn’t have to struggle with finding portable protein sources when they’re on-the-go,” said Paula Connelly, Luna brand director. “Luna Protein offers women a convenient, portable, natural and delicious protein option to toss in their purse.”

Luna Protein, which comes in three varieties — chocolate peanut butter, cookie dough and chocolate cherry almond — now is available at grocery and natural food retailers nationwide at a suggested retail price of $1.39.

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