SodaStream Stock Jumps on Calcalist’s Stake-Sale Report

SodaStream International Ltd. rose the most in eight months after daily newspaper Calcalist reported the maker of household soda machines is in talks on a possible stake sale to a large soft-drink producer.

Shares of Lod, Israel-based SodaStream surged 8.1 percent to $40.75 in New York, the most since July 31. The stock has tumbled 18 percent this year, the second-largest drop among the biggest dual-listed Israeli companies in the U.S.

The manufacturer is in negotiations on selling a 10 percent to 16 percent stake at $52 a share, or about 33 percent more than the opening price yesterday, valuing SodaStream at $1.1 billion, the Israeli financial newspaper reported today, without saying where it got the information.

The transaction would include the sale of options allowing the suitor to increase the stake for potential control of the Israeli company, Calcalist reported. PepsiCo Inc., Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. and Starbucks Corp. could be among the companies involved, the newspaper said.

Yonah Lloyd, SodaStream’s chief corporate development and communications officer, declined to comment on the report. A Starbucks spokeswoman in the U.K. declined immediately to comment. Jeff Dahncke, a spokesman for Purchase, New York-based Pepsi, said the company doesn’t comment on rumors. A phone call and e-mail to Dr. Pepper Snapple’s press office wasn’t returned.

Pepsi Speculation

Coca-Cola Co. agreed to buy a 10 percent stake in Keurig Green Mountain Inc., which is company developing a make-your-own, single-serve product similar to SodaStream’s, on Feb. 5 for about $1.25 billion. The announcement helped validate the do-it-yourself beverage market and fueled speculation that Pepsi, the world’s second-largest soft-drink maker after Coca-Cola, will make a bid for SodaStream.

“A lot of people that own SodaStream now believe that something like this is going to happen, that SodaStream is either going to sell itself or end up in a partnership with Pepsi,” Jim Chartier, an analyst at Monness Crespi Hardt & Co. in New York, said in a telephone interview. “It would help on the household penetration question for SodaStream.”

PepsiCo Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi said on a Feb. 13 conference call that the company sees in-home carbonation as “another distribution channel” for carbonated and sparkling beverages and is “working with multiple people” to be sure it chooses a partner “who we are sure will commercialize” the product.

SodaStream’s Chief Executive Officer Daniel Birnbaum said Feb. 26 that he expects “headwinds” to remain for the company after poor holiday sales prompted the company to offer discounts.

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