Coke near Honest Tea stake deal - report

Soft drink maker reported making another move in the booming non-carbonated beverage business.

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By David Goldman, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Coca-Cola Co. is close to making an investment in up-and-coming soft drink maker Honest Tea for an undisclosed amount, according to a published report.

The move, reported by Beverage Digest, would allow Coca-Cola to expand its beverage selection amid slumping cola sales.

Bethesda, Md.-based Honest Tea makes organic tea drinks, as well as juices and a line of beverages for children. In its eighth year in business, Honest Tea posted $13.5 million in annual sales.

"Honest is a very small brand, but has attracted attention due to its organic positioning," John D. Sicher, editor of Beverage Digest, told CNNMoney.com in an e-mail Wednesday. "Linking up would be a positive for Coke."

Both a Coca-Cola spokesman and an Honest Tea spokeswoman declined comment on the report.

Honest Tea would join Coke's line of noncarbonated beverages in North America, including Glaceau's Vitamin Water, Fuze and Campbell's.

Although Coca-Cola sells Nestea and Gold Peak tea drinks, it still remains behind PepsiCo (PEP, Fortune 500), privately held Arizona, and Cadbury Schweppes (CSG) in take-home market share for the segment.

As consumer tastes shift from carbonated soft drinks toward water, juices and teas, Coca-Cola said it expects overall revenue will increase in the high-single-digit percentage range due to changes in its product mix in 2008.

Coca-Cola (KO, Fortune 500) shares fell 31 cents to $62.90 in morning trading. To top of page

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.