Hansen stock closes higher on rumors of Coca-Cola distribution deal

     Shares of Hansen Natural Corp. (Nasdaq: HANS) closed more than 17 percent higher on Thursday after a research note by investment analysis firm Stifel Nicolaus said the Corona-based soda-energy drink company is discussing a distribution deal with Coca-Cola Co.

     Hansen executives didn’t return phone calls. The stock closed at $27.14.

     The report backs up its claim by citing an article on Beverage Business Insights, an online newsletter.

     “It is unclear to us what a potential distribution agreement with Coke would mean to Hansen’s relationship with Anheuser-Busch,” the research note says. “That said… we believe it is more likely the company utilizes both distribution systems.”

     On Wednesday evening, New York-based Scott + Scott LLP filed a class action law suit against Hansen on behalf of investors who bought shares between May 23 to Nov. 23 of last year. The suit claims the company lied and mislead investors regarding operations, which inflated stock shares.

     The claim comes on the heels of another law suit filed on Sept. 11 by New York-based Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman and Robbins LLP on behalf of investors who bought Hansen stock between May 23 and Nov. 8 of last year. It, too, alleges the company issued “false and misleading” statements about Hansen’s operations.

     –matthew.wrye@inlandnewspapers.com

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