PepsiCo’s purchase of Rockstar Energy Beverages has won the inaugural Just Drinks award for the most impactful M&A transaction of the year.

The US$3.85bn acquisition of Rockstar beat some of 2021’s biggest deals in beverages including Diageo’s takeover of Aviation Gin owner Davos Brands and the divestment of Nestle’s North American bottled water business to a private equity consortium. Nestle featured on the shortlist for the award as both a seller and a buyer with its acquisition of Essentia Water.

PepsiCo already distributed Rockstar in the US but the takeover gave the snacks & beverages group greater control of a brand that goes head-to-head with category leaders Red Bull and Monster Beverage Corp, according to a Just Drinks analysis of the deal.

“PepsiCo showed it means business in energy drinks with the Rockstar buy, which in one fell swoop pushed the soft drinks brand owner into the category’s big leagues,” said Just Drinks managing editor Olly Wehring. “In terms of impact, it could not be bettered.”

The full shortlist for the 2021 M&A Impact award comprised:

Just Drinks announced its first annual Excellence Awards this week. To read the full list of winners and nominations, click here.

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