PepsiCo, the biggest U.S. food and drinks company, just announced that it will buy Israel’s SodaStream company for $3.2 billion dollars.
According to The Times of Israel, the purchase will not affect the workers of the seltzer water machine maker as PepsiCo has committed to keeping the business in Israel for 15 years. The PepsiCo CEO, Ramon Laguarta, claims that he thinks the company will remain in Israel “forever” because “the infrastructure is so powerful.”
This is good news for SodaStream’s 1,400 diverse Jewish, Bedouin, and Palestinian workers at its southern Israel facility who make the company, as a promotional video describes, “an island of peace.”
“Our workers say they are making peace, and on the way making soda as well,” SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said at the press conference in Tel Aviv.
In 1991, the same year SodaStream was founded, PepsiCo finally ended its boycott on the Jewish state and entered the Israeli market.
SodaStream has been a target of the Boycott Divest and Sanction Movement; that allegedly added to the company’s decision to move its factory from Maale Adumim in the West Bank to the southern Israeli city of Rahat, resulting in hundreds of Palestinians losing their jobs. SodaStream still employs Palestinians from the former plant by providing transportation from their homes to Rahat every morning with permission from the Israeli government.
When asked a question about the impact that boycotts of Israel may have on PepsiCo, Laguarta reaffirmed that the company “values diversity” and feels “comfortable with who we are.”
“We feel very strongly about this partnership and what we can do with it globally,” he said.
SodaStream has created 500,000 devices per month which are sold to 46 countries.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the deal, saying, “The recent major acquisitions of Israeli companies prove not only the technological capabilities that have been developed in Israel but the business capabilities as well. I welcome this huge deal that will enrich the state treasury, and also the important decision to keep the company in Israel.”