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NEWS ALERT: Diageo And Combs Join Forces Again, Acquiring High-End DeLeón Tequila

January 8, 2014

Diageo and Sean “Diddy” Combs, who together transformed Cîroc vodka into one of the U.S. spirits market’s hottest brands, have acquired luxury Tequila brand DeLeón through a new joint venture. The venture, a 50-50 global partnership between Diageo and Combs Wines & Spirits, will provide the fast-rising DeLeón access to Diageo’s powerful distribution network, supply chain and marketing capability, along with Combs’s proven track record of driving luxury lifestyle brands to new heights.

“The joint venture with Combs Wine & Spirits and its purchase of DeLeón is Diageo’s latest step toward returning to a leading position in Tequila in North America,” said Larry Schwartz, President, Diageo North America. “Expanding our relationship with Sean Combs into Tequila was a natural choice given Sean’s ability to galvanize support for luxury brands, as we’ve seen with our work together on Cîroc. Ultra-premium and above Tequila is a very exciting segment—we already have a strong brand there with Don Julio and are pleased to complement that offering with DeLeón.”

DeLeón, founded by entrepreneur Brent Hocking, is a 100% blue weber agave Tequila that features five variants with suggested retail prices ranging from $120 to more than $1,000 per bottle. The brand is currently available in around 20 U.S. markets and achieving solid growth on its small base.

Combs and Diageo began their alliance on Cîroc in 2007, when the entertainment impresario acquired part-ownership in the upscale vodka brand while becoming its face. Since then, Cîroc has jumped from a 50,000-case brand to a 2-million-case brand on the strength of years of double-digit growth. Cîroc enjoyed another double-digit gain in 2013, according to Impact Databank.

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