Dark Dog, the quirky energy drink brand with a rapidly growing distribution in Europe, has been bought by the US group XStream, a specialist in so-called New Age beverages.
The Florida-based group has acquired Dark Dog for $34 million (€34.8m), a deal which will allow the energy drink to significantly expand its global distribution.
Dark Dog, which was first launched in Austria in 1995 but which is marketed primarily from Spain, is already well known in many European countries, where it claims to be the second energy drink brand after Red Bull. It has been particularly successful in countries such as France where Red Bull cannot be sold because it contains the amino acid taurine, a stimulant which is banned there. Dark Dog's main stimulant ingredient is guarana.
Dark Dog has already extended its distribution outside Europe, and has marketing offices in both Singapore and Uruguay. The brand is currently available in 20 countries worldwide.
"Dark Dog produces an outstanding product and it is a company that we are proud to be in partnership with and have as part of the XStream family," said Ted Farnsworth, chairman and founder of XStream Beverage Group. "XStream's goal is to continue to gain market share in the global energy drink space."
Dark Dog will be operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of XStream. Dark Dog's current chairman, Gunther Ballweber, will remain as its president and CEO and will also serve on XStream's board of directors.
Farnsworth said that Dark Dog's quirky advertising and marketing, and is positioning as an 'extreme' energy drink, would be maintained under the new management. "It's part of what has made the beverage so popular throughout the world. We are happy to continue with the winning formula," he said.
The Dark Dog deal is the first of several acquisitions planned by XStream, which was founded just last year. Farnsworth said he planned to continue acquiring small- to medium-sized companies producing New Age beverages, ready-to-drink products, energy drinks, sports drinks and bottled water, as well developing its own brands.