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Diet Coke Gets Biggest Makeover Ever in Bid to Restore Cachet

Source: Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola Co., facing an industrywide retreat from artificially sweetened sodas, is hoping its biggest Diet Coke makeover ever can win back consumers.

The Atlanta-based beverage giant is relaunching its classic Diet Coke formula — along with four new flavors — in taller, thinner cans. The move comes after years of declines for the brand. Though Diet Coke remains the third-largest carbonated soft drink in the U.S., it saw volume drop 4.3 percent last year, according to industry publication Beverage-Digest.

Diet Coke — launched in 1982 — had long capitalized on consumers shifting away from sugary drinks. But now health-conscious shoppers are increasingly ditching artificial sweeteners as well, leaving Coke and rival PepsiCo Inc. in a difficult spot. Overall, per-capita soda consumption in the U.S. fell to a 31-year low in 2016, the latest year with data available, according to Beverage Digest.

Coke says the new look could help attract new drinkers beyond the product’s core consumers. The revamped can and additional flavors — ginger lime, feisty cherry, twisted mango and zesty blood orange — will hit store shelves in mid-January.

“We’re modernizing what has made Diet Coke so special for a new generation,” Rafael Acevedo, the product’s North American group director, said on Coca-Cola’s website.

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Buffett Says Stock Ownership Became More Attractive With Tax Cut

Updated on 

Contenders to Replace Buffett Named to Berkshire Board
Bloomberg’s Peggy Collins and Jason Kelly discuss possible successors for Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway.

Warren Buffett said the U.S. tax cut will make companies more valuable by giving owners a bigger share of profits.

“People who own the businesses, they now own 20 percent more of the domestic earnings,” Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said in an interview on CNBC Wednesday.

Describing the change as a “big deal,” he gave as an example Berkshire Hathaway’s BNSF Railway.

“The government doesn’t own the assets of the business,” Buffett said. “We own 100 percent of the assets of BNSF, but we don’t own 100 percent of the profits. And we went from 65 to 79 percent of the profits of BNSF and that is a more than 20 percent increase.”

Still, when asked about whether he would have pushed lawmakers to vote for or against the legislation, he chose another route.

“I would have had a different bill,” he said. “If I did it as a representative of Berkshire shareholders, I would have had to vote for it.”

Here are some of his other comments:

On bitcoin:

  • Buffett said he’s no fan of cryptocurrencies and is confident that the run up in their value is fleeting.
  • “In terms of cryptocurrencies, generally, I can say almost with certainty that they will come to a bad ending. Now when it happens, or how or anything else, I don’t know. But I know this: If I could buy a five year put on every one of the cryptocurrencies, I’d be glad to do it but I would never short a dime’s worth.”

On the stock market:

  • Stocks “are not richly valued relative to interest rates.”
  • “Net we’re buying,” he said. “We’re basically buyers over time. There could be conditions under which we’re sellers. For one thing, the money keeps coming so we basically keep buying.”

On IBM:

  • Buffett was asked whether he’s been a buyer or seller of the stock. Berkshire owned 37 million shares of the company as of the end of September.
  • “It was advantageous if you had a loss in shares and we did in some of IBM, it was advantageous to sell last year rather than this year,” he said. “It would certainly mean that if we had a high cost of IBM that we were selling, we would have sold it last year, and if we had low cost, we would have waited until this year. And we had some of both.”

    IBM’s Rocky Ride

    The IT giant’s shares lost almost 8 percent last year

Berkshire Vice Chairman Charles Munger joined Buffett in the interview and also addressed succession at the conglomerate, saying shareholders probably have “seven or more good years coming out of Warren.”

Asked how many they had for him, Munger, 94, said: “Not very many.”

For more on cryptocurrencies, check out theDecrypted podcast:

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Now More Established Companies Are Getting Gripped by Crypto Mania

Updated on 
  • More well-known names move to join craze in all things bitcoin
  • Buffett raises doubts, says digital coins will have bad ending

Bloomberg’s Cory Johnson reports on Eastman Kodak launching a digital token called Kodakcoin.

It’s one thing for an iced-tea maker or a furniture company to reap massive returns simply by rebranding with blockchain or adding a digital currency, but now some household names are joining in on the craze.

In the past week, at least four companies with well-known brands have seen their stocks skyrocket after reports linked them to cryptocurrencies or initial coin offerings. Eastman Kodak Co. looked poised to double for a second day after saying it’ll sell a token, while Seagate Technology Plc jumped more than 16 percent Monday after a simple blog mention suggested it was entering the space.

The flood of higher-profile names is perhaps the next logical step for a frenzy that’s generated massive paper profits for virtually all comers in recent weeks. Long Island Iced Tea Corp. became the poster child for the craze, when its shares tripled after morphing into Long Blockchain.

Meanwhile, bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, is struggling to hold onto its 1,400 percent gain from last year. Smaller rivals from ripple to bitcoin cash have surged as investors look for new ways to tap the euphoria.

Read more on cryptocurrencies:
A Fool’s Bet, Maybe, But Sharks Fuel Crypto-Mania Stock Rallies
Juices, Bras and E-Cigs: No Past Too Weird for New Cyrpto Firms
A New Moment: Kodakcoin Sees Former Film Giant Join Crypto Craze
Buffett Says Cryptocurrencies Are Certain to Come to Bad Ending

For all the breathless coverage of the mania, there remain just as many naysayers. On Wednesday, billionaire Warren Buffett said on CNBC that most digital coins won’t hold their value.

“In terms of cryptocurrencies, generally, I can say almost with certainty that they will come to a bad ending,” Buffett said. “Now when it happens, or how or anything else, I don’t know. But I know this: If I could buy a five year-put on every one of the cryptocurrencies, I’d be glad to do it, but I would never short a dime’s worth.”

Still, some experienced day-traders are trying to ride the surge of buying that invariably follows companies that suddenly reinvent themselves as blockchain ventures. That’s enough, market watchers say, to bring in high-frequency traders and computer algos.

“The interest in these stocks is so strong because many traders like me are so hungry for the increased volatility,” said Jim DePorre, a professional day trader and founder of sharkinvesting.com. “I know that there are still traders willing to jump in, so who cares if the stock has questionable value?”

Here’s the latest moves in stocks that’ve recently repositioned to cash in:

  • Shares of Kodak rose about 70 percent pre-market after doubling Tuesday. The former camera and film heavyweight said yesterday that it would use blockchain technology and launch a “photo-centric cryptocurrency” called Kodakcoin. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Clarke then told Barron’s that “this doesn’t change the fundamentals in a way that means the stock should double.”
  • Executives from Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc., the majority owner of film subscription service MoviePass Inc., said in a Yahoo Finance interview Tuesday that they would consider an initial coin offering and have been examining blockchain technology. The stock is up 12 percent pre-market.
  • Shares of Seagate Technology Plc, the largest maker of computer drives, surged as much as 16 percent Monday after a little-followed blog contributor suggested the company may have a stake in Ripple, the company behind the third-most-valuable cryptocurrency. Seagate hasn’t commented on the rumor.
  • Western Union Co. shares climbed as much as 6.1 percent Friday, the biggest gain since July 2015, after a website called Ripple News reported an unconfirmed connection between the money-transfer firm and Ripple. Western Union declined to comment.

For more on cryptocurrencies, check out theDecrypted podcast:

Related:
For bitcoin quotes XBT Curncy <go>
Bloomberg’s cryptocurrency monitor vccy <go>

— With assistance by Noah Buhayar, and Brandon Kochkodin

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