We want to buy Wink
By Ted Wright July 6, 2007
For those of you who don’t know Wink here is a brief history. Wink was the first grapefruit soda. If you were a swinging single in the 60’s Wink and vodka could have been your drink. It was a very cool mixer. Very Carnaby Street! By the late 70’s the heyday of Wink was over (Winked out?). It’s still regionally bottled today, mostly available in rural c-stores and second tier grocery stores in North Carolina and Virginia.
So why would we want to buy it? Wink is one of those beverages with just enough history to make it fun but not so much as to make it pigeon holed into a specific brand essence or something that we would have to work around. Wink is lovable, fun and ready for it’s next turn on the stage. With the right amount of attention we could bring it back.
So why has it declined so much? We think that is just doesn’t get very much attention from it’s current owners – Cadbury Schweppes. Now this is not a slam against CS. They are a publicly traded company that must put maximizing stock holder value above all other considerations. Therefore, those brands that are the most likely to make the most money are those that get the most attention. CS owns scads of soda brands (Dr. Pepper, Crush, Hawaiian Punch to name a few) and no company has the management band width to effectively work with huge brands like the ones we listed and also manage well tiny brands like Wink. In short – Wink does not get noticed so it declines
Here’s the good news. Mention Wink and people who know about it smile. People who don’t know it enjoy the Wink story and try it. Once they try it everyone seems to like it. Classic case of an orphan brand needing attention and when it gets it growth will occur.
To our friends in private equity who are bidding on CS we say the following:
It takes as much effort to grow Dr. Pepper as it does Wink.
Wink will never be huge.
The value of Wink approaches zero for CS now and whatever PE firm buys CS in the next month. It does so because the cost of the time and effort necessary to turn the brand around would be outweighed by it’s post-EBITA contribution.
So sell it to us, your friends at Fizz. Let’s discuss an economically rational deal with back end participation. What could be better than that for an asset with a zero valuation?