Waterloo Sparking Water Acquired by Investor Group
Waterloo Sparking Water has been acquired by Flexis Capital and Eurazeo Brands, the division of Eurazeo focused on differentiated consumer brands, along with Moore Strategic Ventures. The Flexis Capital-led equity consortium, which aims to support the company in its next phase of growth, also includes JW Levin Management Partners and Waterloo Capital’s investors.
Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Waterloo CEO Jason Shiver will continue to lead the company alongside COO Jeff Arnold.Louis Friedman, managing partner of New York-based Flexis Capital, noted that Shiver and Arnold "have a history of success developing category-leading brands, and are deploying a similar playbook at Waterloo as they executed to help grow SkinnyPop and Amplify Snack Brands and achieve a sale to Hershey for $1.6 billion."
Founded in 2017, Austin, Texas-based Waterloo has distribution in more than 13,000 retail doors, including Whole Foods Market, Costco, Target, Kroger, Walmart, Publix and H-E-B/Central. The investment will provide Waterloo with additional operational resources, brand-building expertise, and capital to grow its business by ramping up its product and marketing innovation.
As part of the transaction, Stephen Sadove will join Waterloo’s board as nonexecutive chairman and Jerry Levin will join as a director. Sadove and Levin are founding partners of New York-based JW Levin Management Partners and bring decades of operating and board experience in the consumer, beverage and retail industries to their latest appointments.
“This deal represents a confirmation by our new ownership that the sparkling water category has room for independent brands like Waterloo,” Shiver told Progressive Grocer in an exclusive interview. “For Waterloo, our new ownership represents a sophisticated leadership with expertise in marketing and finance. We feel these two disciplines become even more important as we continue to scale this brand.”
“This deal is an affirmation of the importance of the sparkling water category,” Sadove noted during the interview. “It’s a $4 billion-plus category that’s been growing by double digits each year, and one that continues to take share from the soft drink category as consumers look for healthier, natural and sugar-free beverage alternatives. The Waterloo brand has demonstrated phenomenal growth in just three short years, and there is substantial opportunity to continue to build the brand and its distribution network. It’s also evidence that there is room for differentiated brands within this fast-growing sector. Waterloo appeals to a consumer who’s seeking a bold flavor profile and natural ingredients.”
According to Sadove, the consortium’s “near-term focus is on building Waterloo’s brand equity and distribution network to ensure the brand achieves its full potential as a differentiated, natural product offered in a range of bold flavors. We’re pursuing opportunities to add more SKUs to existing stores, more stores within current accounts, and new accounts in existing and new geographies. Over the longer term, we’ll certainly explore category extensions, but for now, we’re focusing on executing our brand-building and distribution strategy.”
This strategy will include “[looking] to bolster our presence in the Midwest and Northeast in the near future,” Shiver said, also divulging that there were “a few other surprises coming on the distribution front.”
As for future new items from the brand, he went on to observe that “we still have tremendous distribution runway on our core products, [but that] doesn’t mean we won’t surprise and delight our fans with some contemplated innovation that fits within our portfolio.”