After a sluggish start to 2020, merger and acquisition activity in the food and beverage industry survived COVID-19 and picked up in H2, with 136 of the year’s 222 transactions closing after June last year. Total transaction value for the year was $13.8 billion, only slightly lower than 2019. Despite the lingering pandemic, consolidation continues in the industry and deal flow has returned to a torrid pace, creating an exceptionally attractive market climate for The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER)(CSE: WTER) (Profile), the U.S.’s largest independent alkaline water company, and its Alkaline88(R) brand, which is now endorsed by Shaquille O’Neal, NBA Hall of Famer and Papa John’s International (NASDAQ: PZZA) board member. Last years’ action included growth equity investor PowerPlant Ventures buying ZICO coconut water from Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) and Nestle SA (OTC: NSRGY) acquiring Essentia Water for an estimated $1 billion, a strategic move to strengthen its value-added water business to compete with brands like PepsiCo Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP), which bolstered its water portfolio with the acquisition of SodaStream in 2018. Only slightly stunted by the pandemic in 2020, M&A in the food and beverage industry should accelerate as competition among majors intensifies and suitable targets dwindle.

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