BeveragesCBDM&ARetailUSAlkaline Water Gets Mark Wahlberg and “Diddy” to Back its CBD Products

The Arizona-based company is acquiring AQUAhydrate, which is backed by Mark Wahlberg and Sean "Diddy" Combs who will help boost its new CBD product line.
Jared Gnam Jared GnamSeptember 11, 20199 min

The Alkaline Water Company‘s (TSXV:WTER)(NASDAQ:WTER) bottled water brand Alkaline88 is already used by big names like Beyoncé and Dwayne Wade, but now the company will have megastars Mark Wahlberg and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs backing it to help boost its business  — including its new line of CBD-infused products.

Arizona-based Alkaline Water said this week it is acquiring AQUAhydrate, a premium bottled company based in Los Angeles, in an all-stock deal. AQUAhydrate’s investors and board members include Wahlberg, Diddy and celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels, and the maker of Alkaline88 will get to leverage their star power to help promote its already fast-growing bottled water business. Combined, the new investors boast 74 million followers across multiple social media platforms.

Not only do the celebrity backers command a lot of hype, but CBD is now more popular online than Beyoncé and is expected to expand into a US$24 billion market in the next few years. The companies will join forces and tap their star power to promote a range of CBD products that include infused beverages, CBD-shots, tinctures, capsules, and powder packs.

The two firms will also launch a flavoured water line while creating additional products that target different consumers. Alkaline Water said it will zero in on the family target market, while AQUAhydtrate will continue to focus on the lifestyle and athlete demographic. Combined the companies expect to generate $65 million in sales for fiscal 2020 on a pro forma basis.

“When Sean and I first got involved in the business, our vision was to build a lifestyle company focused on health and wellness, and that’s what we’ve done,” said Wahlberg in the release.

“The AQUAhydrate and Alkaline88 brands align well and will support exciting innovations in flavors, sparkling and CBD products,” Mark Wahlberg said.

Sean “Diddy” Combs, named the richest hip hop mogul in the world, was equally confident about the newly formed bottled water powerhouse.

“We built AQUAhydrate from the ground up by securing deals with the largest retail grocery outlets, creating innovative partnerships and evolving the brand,” said Combs.

“Today, I am confident that we are creating a powerhouse by combining AQUAhydrate with one of the largest, fastest growing alkaline water companies in the world. I look forward to this next stage of growth as we build one of the most recognizable brands for premium water.”

Alkaline Water’s rich distribution network

Not only will Alkaline Water be entering the exploding CBD space with celebrity backers, but it will be doing so with an established, rich distribution network that exceeds any CBD company’s reach in the U.S. today.

The company was ranked first among 30 U.S. value-added water brands as the fastest growing alkaline water brand, according to Nielson data. In 2019, its flagship Alkaline88 product was added to 1,100 convenience store shelves and reaches 47,500 retail locations in all 50 states. The company’s distribution spans more than 150,000 stores in total, including 9 of the top 10 largest retailers like Whole Foods, Krogers and Walmart.

Alkaline Water will also add AQUAhydrate’s massive distribution footprint in California and growing reach across North America, where its products are sold in Walmart, Target, Safeway and a host of other major retailers. The company said it plans to consolidate its sales organization and provide retail chain buyers with one point of contact for both brands.

The Alkaline Water Company’s Chairman Aaron Keay said it reported a fifth consecutive year of 50% year-over-year growth and selling CBD-infused health drinks will place the company on the map within the rapidly growing market.

“We view the acquisition of AQUAhydrate as extremely synergistic and accretive, and look forward to working closely with new director nominees Ira Tochner from leading investment firm Yucaipa who invested over $27 million in AQUAhydrate and investor Matthew Howison of Emerald Partners; as well as investors Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and Mark Wahlberg, who have personally invested over $20 million into the development and growth of AQUAhydrate and brand ambassador Jillian Michaels,” Keay said in the release. 

“We believe that collectively, the board of directors, management teams and ambassador strength of the combined company has the opportunity to be the market leader in the premium water category and in the new platforms of products we will be rolling out under both brands.”

Disclosure: The writer owns no shares in WTER, but The Alkaline Water Company is a news coverage client of Mugglehead Media Corp.

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