Kombucha and wheat-grass shots might be all the rage but the sugary, caffeinated world of energy-drinks is still a money-spinner.

Russell Goldencloud Weiner is the latest beneficiary with PepsiCo Inc.’s planned acquisition of Rockstar Energy Beverages for $3.9 billion.

He controls 85% of the closely held company, and his mother Janet owns the rest, according to Orbis. After tax, they should get a $3 billion windfall -- about the same as Oprah Winfrey’s net worth.

Weiner, who started the Las Vegas-based company in 2001, is already accustomed to a rock-star lifestyle. He put his Beverly Hills home on the market this year for $31 million, having previously listed a Hermosa Beach home for $21 million and a Miami Beach mansion for $35 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.

He’s also accustomed to the spotlight. His father, conservative radio host Michael Savage, is one of the most prominent -- and controversial -- U.S. shock jocks, whose extreme views on immigration and Islam led to his ban from the U.K. in 2009.

While health concerns have curtailed soda sales, the Pepsi deal underscores the buoyancy of the energy-drink market. Globally, it’s expected to grow at 5.9% annually through 2024, according to Euromonitor data, compared with 1.4% for soft drinks.

Milk Thistle
Weiner, 49, has capitalized on almost 20 years of growth. While running unsuccessfully as a Republican for the California State Assembly in 1998, he met Skyy Vodka founder Maurice Kanbar, who later hired him to work in product development. Weiner left after a year to pursue Rockstar, funding the company with $50,000 he got from a mortgage on his condominium in Sausalito, California.

Weiner wanted to sell a beverage that had twice the volume of an 8-ounce can of Red Bull, at the same price. He tested more than 700 variations before settling on the final combination of natural ingredients, including guarana and milk thistle.

Rockstar, with more than 30 flavors, is available in over 30 countries and is the No. 3 player in the U.S. energy-drink market, behind Monster Beverage Corp. and Red Bull.

It remains a fraction of the size of its rivals. Monster has a market value of $35.5 billion and closely held Red Bull sold a record 7.5 billion cans worldwide last year. Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz has a net worth of about $13 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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