Keurig Green Mountain Inc., the single-serve coffee company acquired by JAB Holding this year, will discontinue its cold-beverage machine less than a year after a rollout hampered by delays and tepid demand.
The company plans to phase out the product -- known as the Keurig Kold -- and offer customers a full refund if they've already bought one, according to a statement on Tuesday. The move handed a victory to soda-machine maker SodaStream International Inc., which saw its shares jump almost 3% on the news.
The Keurig Kold, released last year, was the company's big bet that it could duplicate the success it had with single-serve coffee machines. The idea was to let customers make their own soda at home, providing an alternative to SodaStream machines. Coca-Cola Co. threw itself behind the effort, agreeing to buy a stake in the company. Coca-Cola Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent said last year that the Keurig Kold might be a bigger hit than the company's original coffee machine.
Instead, reaction to the device was underwhelming, according to Stifel Financial Corp. That raised concerns that it would become at best a niche product. JAB and other investors then stepped in to acquire the company for about $14 billion and brought in a new CEO. Coca-Cola, which at one point had a Keurig stake of about 17%, was bought out by JAB and made a small profit on the investment.
"We are grateful to all of our consumers who have supported our company in the innovation of single-serve beverages," Suzanne DuLong, a spokeswoman for Keurig, said in an e-mail. "Reimagining how beverages can be created, personalized and enjoyed will continue to guide Keurig's strategy into the future."
-- Bloomberg News