(JTA) – PepsiCo will acquire the Israeli home soda-maker manufacturer SodaStream for $3.2 billion US, the soft drink giant said Monday.
PepsiCo plans to maintain the Israeli company’s current base of operations in the Negev. SodaStream will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary.
The American multinational agreed to acquire all of the outstanding shares of SodaStream International Ltd. for $144 per share.
“PepsiCo and SodaStream are an inspired match,” PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi said in a statement.
SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum “and his leadership team have built an extraordinary company that is offering consumers the ability to make great-tasting beverages while reducing the amount of waste generated. That focus is well aligned with Performance with Purpose, our philosophy of making more nutritious products while limiting our environmental footprint. Together, we can advance our shared vision of a healthier, more-sustainable planet.”
SodaStream, which manufactures home carbonation machines that work with its own line of soda flavourings, has long been a target of advocates of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel because it was originally based in the West Bank.
In October 2014, SodaStream announced it would close its Mishor Adumim industrial park factory and move to southern Israel in the face of international pressure from the BDS movement, which seeks to hurt Israel’s economy over its policies toward the Palestinians. The movement claimed that SodaStream discriminated against Palestinian workers and paid some less than Israeli workers.
Israeli politicians framed the significance of the SodaStream aquisition in national terms that went beyond the purchase of one company.
“I welcome the purchase of SodaStream,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted on Twitter. “The recent large acquisitions of Israeli companies demonstrate not only the technological capabilities but also the business capabilities that have been developed in Israel. I welcome the huge deal that will enrich the state coffers as well as the important decision to leave the company in Israel.”
Oded Revivi, who manages foreign relations for the Yesha Council, a group representing the settlement movement, called Monday’s news a “day of darkness for the #BDS and its supporters” and a “day of light for the Israeli economy.”
Economy Minister Eli Cohen said the purchase evoked “pride in local industry,” while Justice Ministry Ayelet Shaked said the firm was “an example of Israeli creativity, innovation, coexistence and entrepreneurship.”
“Worth remembering: PepsiCo boycotted Israel until 1991. Today it bought an Israeli firm for $3.2B and pledged it will continue to operate from Israel. The story of Israel’s economy in a nutshell,” tweeted Israel’s consul general in New York, Dani Dayan.
Addressing his father, who is a Holocaust survivor, at a news conference Monday, Birnbaum said that he was “proud that you have seen your Zionist vision come true.”