Sunday, April 19, 2009

Beverage Brand Swaps Equity for Mets' Endorsements

Enhanced-Water Start-up Secures Deals by Giving Players Stakes in Company

By Natalie Zmuda
Published: April 20, 2009

NEW YORK ( -- For start-up brands in the crowded beverage category, endorsements from bold-face names can make all the difference. But how does a brand without a track record land those deals? Increasingly, they're offering up slices of their company.

SoNu Beverages, a fledgling enhanced-water company, has swapped equity for endorsements from New York Mets Johan Santana and Jose Reyes. Each player's stake amounts to about 1% of the company, though the players' agent, Chris Leible, VP at Peter E. Greenberg & Associates, said that figure isn't wholly representational given the nuanced nature of these types of deals. It's the first time either player has taken equity in a company in exchange for endorsement.

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