Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Rockstar Energy Drink Founder Cashing Out For Nearly $4 Billion, Says The American Dream Is ‘Alive And Well’

Kristin Stoller
 Forbes Staff 

Got my mind on your money

Billionaire Russ Weiner founded energy drink Rockstar in 2001. It's now sold in 30 countries ... [+] Ethan Pines/The Forbes Collection 

Amid tumultuous markets, Rockstar Energy Drink’s billionaire founder Russ Weiner is cashing out. He’s selling Rockstar to PepsiCo for $3.85 billion, in a deal that he tells Forbes should give the country some hope.

“It shows the American dream is still alive and well,” Weiner says. “It shows Pepsi has faith in the future and they believe in what we created. It is a bright light in the middle of this hellstorm.”

It’s also a boatload of cash for Weiner, who owns 85% of the company. Based on the deal, Weiner is still worth about $3.9 billion, as Forbes has estimated. Capital gains will likely lower his fortune by as much as $900 million once the deal closes, but he’ll be significantly more liquid. And, as part of the agreement, PepsiCo will give Weiner about $700 million of its future tax benefits associated with the deal, payable over up to 15 years.

“It’s perfect timing in my life right now,” he says. “I’ll have enough money to pretty much do whatever I want in life and not put my nose to the grindstone. I was running this business 24 hours a day for the past 20 years. I was never not working.”

While Weiner says it’s too early to think of his next steps, his mother, Janet, has big plans. Janet, Rockstar’s CFO, owns 15% of the company. Weiner says his mother will “devote her life to helping animals through animal rescues” and protecting wildlife. This fits in with the family’s Yachak Organic, which Weiner launched in late 2017 as a natural alternative to Rockstar. Profits go toward protecting endangered species and the environment.

Rockstar, which has had a distribution agreement with PepsiCo in North America since 2009, is currently sold in 30 countries around the world. Weiner says the deal with PepsiCo will help make the brand a “global powerhouse.”

Weiner initially started Rockstar with $50,000 of his own money. After testing 700 flavor varieties, Weiner drove around San Francisco in an old limo painted with the Rockstar logo to promote his new energy drink.

Before starting Rockstar, Weiner followed in the footsteps of his father, right-wing talk-radio star Michael Savage, and ran for California State Assembly in 1998. He lost the race, but his campaign caught the eye of his father's friend, Skyy Vodka founder Maurice Kanbar, who quickly hired him.

Weiner suggested that Skyy develop its own energy drink. When Kanbar rejected the idea, unimpressed with the name “Rockstar,” Weiner quit to launch his energy drink company.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Featured Post

THE MYSTERIOUS PHONE CALL Jack Blanchard's Column February 13, 2021

        Thousands of readers around the world ...