SodaStream Buyout Chatter Keeps On Popping

Things continue to get bubbly at SodaStream (NASDAQ: SODA  ) .

The stock hit a fresh 52-week high today -- closing in on its all-time high set two summers ago -- on reports of canceling an upcoming conference presentation.

CNBC's Herb Greenberg is tweeting that SodaStream shares are popping as word spreads that SodaStream won't be appearing as originally scheduled at Oppenheimer's 13th Annual Consumer Conference in two weeks.

In a statement to StreetInsider.com, SodaStream President Yonah Lloyd explains that SodaStream is coming off its successful investor day last month and recent marketing presentations by Lloyd in the Northeast, so heading out to Boston to present at the conference on June 25 would be overkill.

It's clear what the market's thinking.

Speculators are betting that there's some meat to the story that broke in Israeli's Calcalist daily business newspaper last week, citing an unnamed source that claimed that PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP  ) made a $2 billion unsolicited offer to acquire the company. SodaStream was reportedly trying to see if there was any rival interest from Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) before weighing PepsiCo's proposal.

Why speak at a conference if it's going to be bombarded with questions that it can't answer? Why present if it's already in play?

Investors may relish the new highs, but the news will clearly make SodaStream a more volatile investment in the near term. As the chatter fizzles -- and that's what happens more often than not -- SodaStream shares will retreat. After all, what would Coke or Pepsi do with SodaStream? An acquisition of SodaStream is feasible, but not at the hands of the two companies that stand to lose the most if making soda at home becomes even more popular than it is right now. They have bottlers and high-margin syrup sales to protect. Why go after a fringe player that commands less than 1% of the market if it sends the wrong message to folks consuming Coke and Pepsi products in bottles and cans and fountain sales today?

It's a shame that SodaStream has become a hype play, because it's really in much better shape than it was when it last traded this high nearly two years ago. SodaStream's generating far more revenue and earnings. The model has been validated in dozens of countries as the spike in consumables proves that folks are actually using these beverage systems.

Until the fizz goes flat, SodaStream will be a tricky stock to lasso. Hopefully, when it all settles, investors will remember that SodaStream is an attractively priced company making a dynamic product that's gaining ground. The rumor will likely prove to be rubbish, but SodaStream is definitely not.

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  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2013, at 4:40 PM, Haiphen wrote:

    Hmmm, KO or Pepsi could ostensibly want a hedge against future erosion of their business, should SODA succeed even more. Could give them a green face, and they might come up with a brand strategy for home made coke. Maybe branded bottles, makers that control the ratio of gas to water, and capsules.

    On the other hand, they may want to prevent more embarassing ad campaigns, or even reign in the "disruptor"

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2013, at 5:05 PM, TMFPennyWise wrote:

    That's what I was thinking, Haiphen.

    If KO or Pepsi owned the business they could control how and where it grows.

    And what kind of advertising it does.

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