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What: Shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ: GMCR) were on fire today, climbing as much as 37% after the Keurig maker announced a surprise deal with Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) last night.
So what: Coke will take a 10% stake in the Vermont-based coffee seller, and the two formed a 10-year "global strategic partnership," which will make Coke's brand portfolio available for the soon-to-come Keurig Cold at-home soda-maker. Coke will also put the full weight of its marketing power behind the new product in an attempt to "bring the Keurig Cold beverage system to consumers around the world." The beverage giant invested a total $1.25 billion in Green Mountain at a per-share price of $74.98.
Now what: The partnership is a huge development for Green Mountain and the countertop soda-making industry. For years, Coca-Cola and other major brands have avoided licensing their products the likes of companies like SodaStream, which has been growing sales above 20% for several years, but that changed immediately with last night's announcement. The deal may also signify a transition in Green Mountain from a hot beverage seller to a cold one as sales have essentially flatlined after years of torrid growth. Still, the Keurig Cold is not set to hit the market until 2015, so investors will have to wait a while to see if the new partnership will make a splash.