When Coca-Cola announced this week that it will pay $5.6 billion for the remaining 85 percent of sports drink maker BodyArmor that it does not already own, it was a major windfall for some well-known investors, including NBA star James Harden and tennis phenom Naomi Osaka. According to reports, Kobe Bryant’s estate is set to receive a $400 million payout.
Mike Repole, BodyArmor’s cofounder, chairman, and largest shareholder, is cashing in the most. According to Forbes, Repole has a net worth of at least $1.5 billion, thanks in part to this week’s deal. Repole remained tight-lipped about his good fortune.
Mike Repole’s Net Worth?
Mike Repole is a $1.5 billion dollar businessman from the United States. Mike made his fortune as the founder or co-founder of several companies, including Glaceau and BODYARMOR, two beverage companies.
Mike, then 29, co-founded Energy Brands, or Glaceau, with J. Darius Bikoff in 1998. Smartwater was their first product. Smartwater, introduced in 2000, exploded the enhanced water beverage category. Vitamin Water was introduced.
In 2007, the company made over $1 billion. Coca-Cola purchased Glaceau for $4.1 billion that year. Repole and Bikoff always gave employees stock options. 400 employees received average checks of $500,000 on the day of the Coca-Cola acquisition. Early workers earned more. 50 Cent, an early Vitamin Water endorser, famously chose equity over salary. 50 Cent’s exact Vitamin Water earnings are unknown, but he made $150-200 million before taxes and $75-100 million after taxes.
Mike bought the majority of Pirate’s Booty, a food company, with a portion of the proceeds from the Coca-Cola sale in 2009. In 2014, the brand was purchased for $200 million. He wasn’t done yet, though!
Mike went on to co-found BODYARMOR, a beverage company. In 2014, Kobe Bryant became an investor. Kobe is said to have bought a 10% stake in the company for $6 million. At the time, the brand’s annual sales were less than $10 million. BODYARMOR had a revenue of $400 million in 2018. The following year, Coca-Cola called again. Coke paid $2 billion for a minority stake in the company this time. The value of Kobe’s ten percent stake grew from $6 million to $200 million. In November 2021, Coca-Cola paid $8 billion for a majority stake in BodyArmor.
Among the athletes who have backed BODYARMOR are Mike Trout, Megan Rapinoe, and Trae Young. Like he did at Glaceau, all endorsers and many employees have earned stock in the company.