Here's what PepsiCo is getting in SodaStream when it comes to workforce sentiment

3 months ago by Gabriela Barkho in Facts, News

The summer of seltzer continues as PepsiCo ($NASDAQ:PEP) announced plans to buy SodaStream International Ltd. ($NASDAQ:SODA) for $3.2 billion. In an August 20 press conference in Tel Aviv, the beverage giant confirmed that the deal will officially be completed in January 2019.

 

Founded in 1991, the Israel-based SodaStream had somewhat of a premonition some two decades before the current American golden age of bubbly water. With 2017 sales topping $500 million thanks to a large millennial consumer market and Amazon’s aggressive strategy to beat cult favorite LaCroix, it’s no surprise Pepsi wants a slice of the pie — or in this case, a sip of the bubbles.

 

However, unlike the current wave of startup-esque seltzer makers popping up on the market, SodaStream focuses on in-home replenishable and sustainable cartridges to retain its customers. Not to mention, its collection of machines forgoes canning and distribution when it comes to selling fizzy water. This puts SodaStream, which went public in 2010, in the position of cornering the home appliance market as one of Pepsi’s subsidiaries, as opposed to being another snack or beverage maker joining its family.

 

Although the move makes sense on paper, the company’s public image has not gone without a few blemishes in the past few years, including the controversial firing of 500 Palestinian workers from its West Bank factory.

 

The current CEO Daniel Birnbaum — known for his outspoken views since taking post two years ago — currently has a weak 46-percent approval rating on Glassdoor. This number could potentially drop even further as employeees learn he is due to make a cool $61 million during the acquisition.

 

 

Furthermore, the business outlook rating from employees currently sits at 47 percent. Although this appears to be an improvement over the same rating earlier this year, it’s still a surprisingly low rate considering SodaStream’s employees and shareholders are preparing to merge with Pepsi in the coming months.

 

 

While this figure, along with Birnbaum’s rating, doesn’t bode well for SodaStream’s internal culture amid the buyout, it should be noted that the company’s overall Glassdoor profile has not received many recent reviews. Only a few employees, current or former, reviewed SodaStream in the past two years, which could explain how flat the data is.

 

Still, Pepsi taking a $3.2 billion chance on SodaStream shows that not only is the beverage industry looking for more ways to get a piece of fizzy boom, but it's also buying into the trendy, brand-driven potential of the DIY soda-water market.

Gabriela Barkho

Gabriela Barkho is a tech reporter based in New York City who covers startups, fin-tech and everything Silicon Valley.

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