December 15, 1999
In the midst of Israeli peace negotiations with Syria over Syrian recognition of Israel and a possible return of the Golan Heights, Aqua International Partners, a San Francisco-based venture fund purchases a 25% stake in Israeli bottled water company Mayanot Eden (Eden Springs) for $47.5 million.
The venture investment and partial purchase came at a time when Eden Springs was eying expansion into European markets. Despite the coincidence of the timing between the purchase announcement and the talks between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa which began the same day in Washington DC, Eden’s Chief Financial Officer Nir Dor said that negotiations between the companies had begun before the peace talks had been announced.
The venture investment allowed Eden Springs to establish its European Headquarters in Switzerland, where it since has expanded its reach and product lines to include water coolers for homes and offices as well as coffee products. Today, the company is Europe’s leading provider of water for use in the workplace with more than 600,000 clients. In June 2013, the company sold its Israeli and European operations to New York based Rhone Capital for nearly $95 million.
The peace talks between Syria and Israel would resume in January 2000 in West Virginia but failed to produce meaningful results.
Photo Credit: Bottles of Eden Springs water