Buy Body Armor Stock
Shares of Coca-Cola Co. KO, -0.02% rose 0.3% in premarket trading Monday, after the beverage giant confirmed that it was buying the remaining 85% of BodyArmor that it didn't already own for $5.6 billion in cash. The deal was originally reported over the weekend by The Wall Street Journal. Coca-Cola said the acquisition will be paid for through "cash on-hand." The company had purchased the 15% of BodyArmor that it currently owns in 2018, with a path to full ownership. BodyArmor will operate as a separate business within Coca-Cola's North America business unit, and the current leadership team, including BodyArmor co-Founder Mike Repole, will remain in place. The companies said as part of the deal, Coca-Cola and BodyArmor's Repole will collaborate on a still beverages portfolio. Coca-Cola's stock has gained 2.8% year to date through Friday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.43% has climbed 17.0%.
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The beverage giant bought a 15% stake in Bodyarmor in 2018, becoming its second-largest shareholder. At the time, basketball legend Kobe Bryant was its third-largest shareholder after investing in Bodyarmor in 2013, just two years after its founding. The estate of the late NBA star will receive roughly $400 million from the sale, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The deal for the remaining 85% of Bodyarmor isn't entirely unexpected. Coke first said in February that it intended to buy a controlling interest in Bodyarmor later this year in a pre-acquisition filing with the Federal Trade Commission.
Owning Bodyarmor helps Coke gain market share in the sports drink category, although PepsiCo's Gatorade is far and away the market leader with roughly 70% market share. By touting itself as a healthier sports drink, Bodyarmor has surpassed Coke's Powerade to become the second-largest player in the category. According to Coke, the sports drink brand's retail sales this year are expected to be more than $1.4 billion, up about 50% this year.
As part of the deal, Bodyarmor co-founder Mike Repole will collaborate on the company's still beverages portfolio. Repole also founded Vitaminwater, Smartwater and Energy Brands, all of which are now owned by Coke. Repole and BodyArmor President Brent Hastie will also stick around to help Bodyarmor in its quest to overtake Gatorade.
Representatives of four sellers of body armor (National Body Armor, Spartan Armor Systems, Armored Republic and UARM USA Corp.) who spoke to NPR said they saw some rise in sales following recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y. They declined to provide specific numbers, however.
This broader trend in increased body-armor sales tracks with a rise in gun sales in the past few years. In April 2021, gun sellers across the U.S. reported that first-time gun buyers were pushing a surge in sales.
Restrictions on who can buy body armor in the U.S. are few and far between. People convicted of a violent felony are banned from purchasing body armor, but regulatory enforcement of that law is lax, according to sellers.
Connecticut requires sales of body armor to be made in person, and New York just passed restrictions on what types of body armor can be sold and who can buy it. Beyond that, no states require any kind of background check or permit. Sellers say they require buyers to be at least 18.
Many retailers said gun owners are the most common return customer. They purchase body armor as an accessory to go with their weapon, retailers said. But there is growing popularity among people who just want a body shield to wear in everyday life.
"Most people haven't worn body armor before, and they just want to be able to wear something and feel comfortable that if they were shot with a handgun, they're gonna be protected," Goldberg said of National Body Armor's customers.
The company, with headquarters in the U.S., also sells armor and tactical gear to troops in Ukraine, where it has manufactured products since before it entered the U.S. market officially in 2018, Milan said.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signs legislation limiting body armor access as she is surrounded by lawmakers during a bill-signing ceremony on June 6 in New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images hide caption
The Violence Project has found that at least 21 mass shooters over the last 40 years have worn body armor, the majority in the last decade. The gunman in the Buffalo mass shooting is just the latest example of that.
During that supermarket attack, the shooter, a white supremacist looking to kill Black people, wore full body armor. The store's security guard attempted to shoot the attacker but was thwarted by his body armor, which was strong enough to protect against rifle rounds. The guard, Aaron Salter, was killed by the shooter.
Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a package of laws in the wake of the Buffalo shooting that raised the minimum age to buy semiautomatic rifles to 21 and banned the sale of body vests to certain civilians. Only people in approved professions can buy and use this particular kind of protection, according to the law. However, that list of who can buy these vests will come at a later date.
But as The Trace, a news website covering gun violence, reports, the particular kind of armor worn by the gunman in Buffalo (hard armor plates that protect against rifle rounds) isn't banned under this law. Just soft body armor is, and it's easier to conceal and protects only against smaller rounds.
Gomez, with the Latino Rifle Association, agreed. He said it's communities of color and those who are targets of police brutality who are most at risk with a law like this. They are seeking body armor to protect against police shootings or attacks during protests, he said.
Reece says the body armor law is flat-out unconstitutional as well as a "heavy-handed act of a showboating legislature." Armored Republic intends to sue the state of New York in federal court over this law, he said.
The Wall Street community is cautiously optimistic about the stock and has a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 4 Buys and 3 Holds. The average Coca-Cola price target of $61.29 implies that the stock has upside potential of 9.1% from current levels.
The famed investor and legendary dealmaker's company has racked up a $21 billion unrealized gain on Coca-Cola, based on its latest annual report and the drinks group's stock price. Coca-Cola is the fourth-biggest holding in Berkshire's US stock portfolio after Apple, Bank of America, and American Express.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia testified on Capitol Hill this month that the recent domestic terror attack at the Tops supermarket in his city was even more deadly because the shooter was wearing military-style body armor and a ballistic helmet.
Those details have renewed a debate among local elected officials and law enforcement about whether tactical body armor, which is largely unregulated across the country, has an appropriate place in civilian society.
Some experts worry the new law in New York could have caused a spike in the sale of such gear and also may have been written too narrowly to actually include the type of armor the Buffalo shooter used.
The Violence Project, a non-partisan research center that studies gun violence in America, found that at least 21 times in the last 40 years a mass shooter has worn body armor during their attacks, including in Sutherland Springs, Texas; San Bernardino, California; and Aurora, Colorado.
Keith Barrett runs one of the largest body armor retailer companies on the East Coast. Online and at gun shows his company sells a range of gear from ballistic helmets to concealable armor to military-style vests that are able to take several hits from riffle rounds. They sell bulletproof, removable plates designed to sit inside a vest and are made from various metals or ceramics, ranging in cost and efficacy.
Barrett, a retired Maryland State Police officer, bristled when asked about whether body armor could make it harder for law enforcement to respond to active shooter situations and said he has seen a wider range in ages and demographics of people at shows looking for armor in the last few years. 041b061a72