CORRECTED-Coca-Cola to buy 16.7 pct stake in Monster Beverage

Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:17am EDT

(Corrects stock symbol for Monster in first paragraph)

By Anjali Athavaley

NEW YORK Aug 14 (Reuters) - Cola Co. said Thursday that it is buying a 16.7 percent stake in Monster Beverage Corp and will have two directors on Monster's board as the beverage company seeks to expand into faster-growing categories like energy drinks.

Under the agreement, Coke will make a cash payment of $2.15 billion and transfer ownership of its worldwide energy business including NOS, Full Throttle and Burn, to Monster. Monster will issue to Coke shares of common stock, and transfer its non-energy business, which includes Hansen's Natural Sodas and Peace Tea, to Coke. Coke will become Monster's preferred distribution partner globally, while Monster will become Coke's exclusive energy drinks partner.

The transaction is expected to close late in 2014 or early in 2015.

"Our equity investment in Monster is a capital-efficient way to bolster our participation in the fast-growing and attractive global energy drinks category," said Coke Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent. (Reporting by Anjali Athavaley; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)