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Fizzy M&A

The revolution will not be carbonated: Pepsi in talks to buy SodaStream

UPDATED at 8:23 AM EST: Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi told CNBC that the SodaStream report is “totally and completely untrue.”

It was only a matter of time before SodaStream’s fizzy success got noticed by Big Soda. The Israeli company, which makes a machine that lets you carbonate tap water and make home-made sodas in your kitchen, is in talks with PepsiCo about a $2 billion buy-out, according to the Israeli paper Calcalist.

That would be a significant premium to SodaStream’s $1.4 billion market capitalization, and Coca-Cola is rumored to be interested as well. But it’s a bit of a strange M&A duel, with the world’s two biggest carbonated drinks makers vying to buy a company that undermines their signature products. SodaStream has also been harshly critical of wasteful bottled drinks, promoting its no-packaging alternative as a more environmentally friendly option.

SodaStream’s sales have surged worldwide in the last few years—up more three-fold since 2009 and double in the US in 2012 alone. Samsung is even adding a built-in machine to its luxury refrigerator range. The tech site Gizmodo recently asked its Twitter followers why they loved SodaStream so much. Answers ranged from the sensible (“My soft drink, when I want, the flavor I want, and with as much fizz as I want.”) to the rather less so (“It’s cheaper. Plus it makes a delightful fart noise during operation!”) Will SodaStream’s die-hard fans feel the same if the rebellious home carbonator crosses over to the dark side?

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