Red Bull is being blackmailed
Extortionists threaten to add a nasty new ingredient to the energy drink unless the company pays up.
No, that foreign agent isn't more taurine or an extra backhoe of sugar.
Officials at Red Bull's headquarters in Vienna say extortionists have threatened to dump fecal matter into the energy drink unless they get paid off, according to Reuters. The perpetrators told Red Bull where the compromised cans would end up, but checks of Red Bull supplies at those stores turned up nothing unusual.
The threats have been under investigation since early March, but the motive behind them hasn't been nearly as tough to parse. According to Forbes, Red Bull sales grew 12% in 2011 to $5.6 billion Meanwhile, Red Bull co-founder Dieter Mateschitz has a net worth of $7.1 billion. That makes him Austria's richest person and the 162nd-wealthiest in the world.
The company doesn't exactly keep a low profile, either. Red Bull has slapped its name on professional soccer teams, sponsored daredevil Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking skydive from near space and has a Formula 1 racing team starting its season this weekend. It's also part of an energy drink industry that has come under increased scrutiny in recent months.
Back in January, a U.S. consumer filed suit against the company claiming its products don't have as much caffeine content as buyers are led to believe. That's a fairly light accusation by energy drink standards, especially when The New York Times reports that not only does 5-Hour Energy face similar claims, but that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating 5-Hour Energy's role in the deaths of 13 people in the last four years.
Monster Energy (MNST) is also under scrutiny. It saw its stock plummet in October after the FDA confirmed "adverse incident reports" of five deaths involving Monster energy drinks. The company is now being sued by the parents of a 14-year-old Maryland girl who died from heart problems in December 2011 after drinking Monster Energy on two consecutive days. Monster disputes the connection between her death and the drink.
According to The Telegraph, an Austrian newspaper received an email from the Red Bull blackmailers on Feb. 27 stating that "we have already contaminated several cans of Red Bull" with human feces containing the hepatitis A virus. The email warned that the cans "would be bought and consumed in the next couple of days."
Thus far, the blackmailers have focused attention on Red Bull supplies in stores in Salzburg and Vienna. Neither Austrian newspapers nor police have indicated if the threats involve products overseas as well.
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Thomson Reuters (click for restrictions). Real-time quotes provided by BATS Exchange. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Interactive Data Real-Time Services. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by SIX Financial Information.
While incompetent bosses like Michael Scott and Andy Bernard typically can’t survive in the workplace, office romances are a very real part of corporate culture.
- Southwest Airlines turns less legroom into $773M
- 'American Idol' gets sorry ratings for season finale
- Powerball's wacky sense of humor
- Millions of Facebook's users are actually pets
- Can crowd funding rescue the LA Times?
- Domino's debuts a DVD that smells like pizza
- Average US retirement age climbs to 61
- McDonald's aims to slim down its 145-item menu
- Bathroom reading goes digital with iPad TP stand
[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 ended this week with a bang, roaring to a new all-time high on the back of stronger-than-expected economic data, influential leadership, and an ongoing appreciation for the Fed's monetary policy support.
The bullish bias was evident in premarket action as the S&P futures pointed to a higher start without the benefit of any definitive news catalyst. Stocks indeed benefited from a blast of buying interest at the opening bell on this ... More
More Market News
All hail the bull market, which ended the week with a big rally. But it also is starting to look a little like 1987, which suffered an epic blow-out.