I didn’t get one for free. Frankly, with all my authority on soda, I’m a bit baffled on why Green Mountain didn’t send me one. No, I’m not a mommy blogger. But still, it would have been nice.
Instead, I paid $100 thanks to a Staples coupon doubling over, combined with a Black Friday online discount. I think, and I may be wrong here, but I paid less for a KOLD “brewer” than anyone in America – who bought it at retail, anyways.
Investing in a KOLD for $100 is a speculative play. Today, the pods are ridiculously expensive. In part, I wanted to show arthritis-ridden family members they could buy one too, so they didn’t have to lug soda bottles around anymore. No, I’m not the largest soda drinker in the family.
Anyways, I didn’t take mine out of the box. Instead, I’m selling it on eBay… maybe for a profit, actually.
Here’s why I’m selling my Keurig KOLD: The company is going private.
Keurig Green Mountain just announced they’re getting bought out by JAB – owners of Carabou Coffee and other coffee-affiliated companies. They’re taking it private. Coca-Cola, which owned about 17% of Keurig, is getting a 75% profit just to trade in their shares.
Now, think about it. Had Keurig stayed public, there would have been pressure – from Coca-Cola, and other shareholders, to get the pod price down. Now, there’s no incentive for Keurig to innovate its way out of this problem. That may put Keurig out of the soda business altogether. There’s no guarantee that JAB will stay the course on any of Keurig’s soda ventures or aspirations – it may just pivot Keurig back to what JAB knows best, coffee.
And that would mean being stuck with a Betamax brewer, with no potential upside. Without someone willing to sell pods, all it can do is make cold water. Which, actually, compared to other tabletop cold water makers – it’s not that bad of a deal.
I do think Keurig KOLD is brilliant. I do think it can be made economical, even cheaper than cans over time. If I didn’t think that, I wouldn’t have bought one.
I suspect the endgame for Keurig KOLD is like a lot of startups, and perhaps even some of my own – to be bought out by a corporate giant.
Hey Coca-Cola, have you asked what JAB would pay to spin off the KOLD assets? Now might be a good time. If Coca-Cola owned KOLD’s patents and product designs, it could put its own R&D teams on making a cheaper pod and a better soda maker (say, one that could actually output twelve ounces of soda for twenty-five cents).
Just don’t expect the KOLD systems of today to be compatible with whatever that (potential) venture gestates. If Coca-Cola does buy out KOLD from Keurig, I doubt they would continue sales of the current generation of machines. Incubating that product further is precisely what Coca-Cola has the funds, and determination, to execute a successful relaunch down the road.