The Coca-Cola Co. is in “serious talks” with Aurora Cannabis Inc. to develop cannabis-infused beverages, reports BNN Bloomberg.
According to “multiple sources familiar with the matter”, Coca-Cola, the world’s largest beverage company, is interested in developing beverages that are infused with cannabidiol. Coca-Cola and Aurora would likely develop beverages that contain CBD, but not THC, meaning it would have potential medical and therapeutic benefits without actually causing a high.
The consumer CBD market is estimated to grow to US$2.1 billion by 2020, from $202 million in 2015, according to a recent report in the Hemp Business Journal.
“They’re pretty advanced down the path” of doing a deal, according to one source who has direct knowledge of the talks between the two companies. “It’s going to be more of the ‘recovery drink’ category,” the source added.
The sources declined to speak on-the-record with BNN Bloomberg as discussions between Aurora and Coca-Cola remain private.
Kent Landers, a spokesman from Coca-Cola, declined to comment about Aurora. However, he added in an emailed statement to BNN Bloomberg that “along with many others in the beverage industry, we are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world. The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time.”
Heather MacGregor, a spokeswoman with Aurora, said in an emailed statement that the cannabis producer has expressed specific interest in the infused beverage space, and intends to enter that market.
“As a rule, we do not discuss business development initiatives until they are finalized, however we have a responsibility to our shareholders to give proper consideration to all relevant opportunities that are presented,” MacGregor said.
Shares in Aurora surged as much as 19 per cent when markets opened Monday, paring gains to about 16 per cent to $9.92 on the Toronto Stock Exchange as of 9:42 a.m. ET. Coca-Cola’s stock rose 0.15 per cent to US$46.05 on the New York Stock Exchange.