The Associated Press April 30, 2012, 1:40PM ET

Monster shares soar on rumors of Coke deal

Monster Beverage Corp.'s shares soared in trading Monday on a report that Coca-Cola Co. is considering buying the energy drink maker.

The world's biggest soft drink maker is in talks to buy Monster, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal that cites unnamed people familiar with the matter. If it happens, the deal would be Coca-Cola's largest brand acquisition ever, according to the report.

Coca-Cola did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Monster spokeswoman Judy Lin Sfetcu says it is the company's policy not to comment on stock movements or reports of acquisitions.

While the deal is not certain, it's not unlikely that Coca-Cola would want to capitalize on the popularity of energy drinks.

The company is constantly looking beyond soda for growth. In its first quarter, Coca-Cola reported 4 percent global volume growth for its namesake soda. Sales volume for its bottled water grew 15 percent worldwide, while volume for energy drinks rose 25 percent.

Monster Beverage, based in Corona, Calif., sells juices, sodas and other drinks under brands such as Monster Energy and Hansen's. In its last fiscal year, the company's net income rose by 35 percent to $286.2 million.

Coca-Cola's lineup of energy drinks includes Full Throttle, Fuze, burn and Gladiator.

Monster's stock was one of the top gainers on the Nasdaq Monday on the news. The Nasdaq paused the stock's trading three times by midday based on the activity. The company's shares spiked in early trading, hitting a record high of $83.96. By the afternoon, they were still up $7.73, or 11 percent, to $73.26. Its shares had traded between $30.76 and $65.94 in the past 52 weeks.

Shares of Coca-Cola, based in Atlanta, fell 61 cents, less than 1 percent, to $76.02.


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