Youth-Focused Jones Soda, Simply Better Brands Plan Merger

The marriage of Jones Soda and Simply Better Brands would cojoin two profit-challenged marketers focused on younger consumers’ preferences for beverages, plant-based foods, cosmetics and CBD products.

The companies intend to merge via a deal announced today in which Simply Better Brands Corp. will acquire Jones Soda Co. common stock and assume Jones’ debt in a transaction valued at $98.9 million.

If the merger happens, Simply Better Brands intends to change its name to Jones Soda “or some derivation thereof‎,” the companies said in a news release.

Best known for premium, carbonated soda sold in Canada and the United States, Seattle-based Jones Soda recently entered the cannabis-fused beverage space under the brand name Mary Jones.

Describing itself as an alternative to “corporate carbonated soft drink brands,” the company’s marketing efforts consist largely of engaging with younger generations on social media and sports sponsorships -- and letting people custom design their own beverage labels.



 “This market is driven by trendy, young consumers looking for a distinctive tonality and better ingredients for their beverage choices,” Jones Soda said in its most recent annual report.

Sports sponsorships include the Ultimate Fighting Championship, auto racing, skateboarding, BMX biking, snowboarding and skiing.

Founded in Canada in 1986 as Urban Juice and Soda Company Ltd., Jones Soda has expanded its offerings to include teas, lemonade, vitamin-enhanced waters, hydration beverages and flavored sparkling waters.

Most recently, it launched its first neurotropic supplement in a partnership with former boxing champion Mike Tyson and life sciences company Wesana Health of Illinois.

The company posted a net loss of $1.8 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2021 on revenue of $14.8 million.

Having grown largely through acquisitions, Simply Better Brands—formerly PureK Holdings Corp.—markets PureKana ingestible and topical CBD products, Trubar plant-based snack bars and No B.S. cosmetics.

Its target audience is Gen Z and Millennial consumers.

Acquired in February of 2021, the No B.S. skincare line—which touts plant-based chemical substitutes—includes Caffeine Eye Cream, Retinol Night Cream, Charcoal Peel-Off Masks and Acne Patches.

Originally launched D2C, No B.S. has been seeking to gain retail distribution. In February, Simply Better Brands said that No B.S. was “gaining traction in the drug class of trade with a commitment to enter CVS later this year.”

No B.S. regularly posts Frugal Friday videos featuring recommended skincare routines.

According to the most recent financial results posted on the Simply Better Brands website, in the three months ended last Sept. 30, the company had revenue of $9.1 million and a net loss of $8 million.

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