A couple months back we featured an article called How 50 Cent Made A Killing Off Water which detailed the deal that went down between 50 Cent & Vitamin Water leaving 50 Cent with almost Half A Billion Dollars in his share of the Pie over at “Glacéau”. This article features the man himself “Mike Repole” the co founder of Vitamin Water & Smart Water explaining how he came about inking a 4.1 Billion Dollar deal with Coca-Cola to release his Glacéau Vitamin Water to the Billions around the world.
Mike Repole, 38, co-founded Glacéau, makers of Vitaminwater and Smartwater, with J. Darius Bikoff in 1999.
Mike Repole – “I’m the president and co-founder of Glacéau, the beverage company that makes Vitaminwater, and last year one of the largest companies in the world approached us with an exciting proposition that would turn out to be worth billions of dollars. Sometimes you can’t see the forest through the trees; I don’t know if I actually recognized how successful a company we had created in Queens, New York, in less than a decade. What I am certain of is that I barely noticed Manhattan’s skyscraper views on the last day of April a year ago. It was nine o’clock in the morning when I greeted executives from Coca-Cola at their top-floor boardroom on Fifth Avenue, and I was focused.
I prepared for the most important day of my life like any other day: I ate an egg-white omelet and a bowl of fresh fruit for breakfast, and I wore a black polo shirt and black slacks. It was the third full-day meeting of the week and the culmination of a five-month-long discussion, so I wasn’t really nervous. Anxious is more like it. I wanted to close this deal by taking our products global while still continuing to run the business in Queens. Somewhere in the midst of all that, Coke added their sports drink Powerade to the table–a brand I’d always competed against–and said, “How about you find a way to make this better than Pepsi’s Gatorade too?” A few hours later, we all shook hands on the deal of a lifetime. The lives of everyone involved with Glacéau changed in that moment. Each of our 497 shareholders and 352 employees would eventually receive a check worth thousands of dollars. My younger brother, Gerard, a New York City police officer for 13 years, had invested very early. He had one of the toughest jobs in the world, and I helped him retire early. I will never feel prouder.
When you sell something for $4.1 billion, you celebrate with a nice dinner. That evening we ate at Les Salons, the private room above the four-star French restaurant Le Bernardin. Because I was so excited, I ordered the most expensive wine on the menu. I don’t even know which bottle. The wine could have come from a box and I wouldn’t have known the difference. And then it was back to business as usual for us here in Queens, only now we’re in the process of hiring 300 new employees, evolving Powerade, taking our products to the next level nationally, and introducing Vitaminwater internationally. We’ll be global in five years, and we needed Coke to accomplish that. Not bad for a kid from Queens who graduated from St. John’s University with a 2.2 GPA and hoped to become general manager for the Mets. Here are my fundamental business lessons that I never learned in school.”
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