Cott signs deal to acquire Primo Water, will rebrand under Primo name

TORONTO — Cott Corp. has made one of its biggest moves yet as part of its shift towards the water business with the acquisition of Primo Water Corp.

The beverage company says it will rebrand under the Primo Water Corp. name to reflect its move away from its coffee and tea division as part of a plan to focus on water.

“As we turn to our new business model, we are taking the opportunity to rebrand our company as Primo Water Corporation to reflect the leading position we have in the growing and attractive water market,” said Cott CEO Tom Harrington in a statement.

The Primo deal, expected to close in March, has Cott paying US$14 per share in a combination of cash and Cott shares.

Cott says the deal values Primo, a provider of water dispensers, purified bottled water and self-service refillable drinking water in the U.S. and Canada, at about US$775 million.

The acquisition of Primo is the latest in a wave of recent company moves into the water space.

Last week, it announced it would buy Hungary-based Clearwater to secure a presence in the country as well as Clearwater’s carbonation technology that it plans to introduce to other markets. Earlier in the month it said it would acquire Netherlands-based Watercooler Gigant and also that it had launched an internet-enabled water filtration unit.

Last November, it said it would buy Netherlands-based Viteau, and eastern U.S. based The Water Guy.

Cott said earlier this month that it was evaluating strategic alternatives for its coffee and tea business, which follows on its sale of its soda division in 2017.

Cott shares were down 97 cents, or 5.25 per cent, at $17.50 in morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2020.

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The Canadian Press