Casamigos: George Clooney tequila brand sold for $1bn to drinks giant Diageo

Mr Clooney co-founded Casamigos four years ago with entertainment entrepreneur Rande Gerber and developer Mike Meldman 

Alexandra Wilts
Washington DC
Wednesday 21 June 2017 17:47
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George Clooney
George Clooney

George Clooney is selling his US tequila brand Casamigos to British beverage company Diageo for almost $1bn (£790m).

The London-based distiller will initially pay $700m (£553m) for Casamigos and possibly an additional $300m (£237m) based on the performance of the brand over the next decade. The purchase will be Diageo's biggest since it bought United Spirits for $3.2 billion (£2.5 billion) in 2014.

The London-based distiller has recently been expanding its lineup of tequila brands, and already owns Don Julio, DeLeón and Peligroso.

Mr Clooney co-founded Casamigos four years ago with entertainment entrepreneur Rande Gerber, who is married to model Cindy Crawford, and developer Mike Meldman.

Mr Clooney told CNBC last year that the idea for their company was born when he and Mr Gerber bought neighbouring properties in Mexico and got into drinking tequila.

Casamigos' sales doubled between 2014 and 2015, according to Ad Age, making it one of the world's fastest-growing tequila brands.

“If you asked us four years ago if we had a billion dollar company, I don’t think we would have said yes,” Mr Clooney told Deadline when confirming the deal. “This reflects Diageo’s belief in our company and our belief in Diageo. But we’re not going anywhere. We’ll still be very much a part of Casamigos. Starting with a shot tonight. Maybe two.”

Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes said in a statement that the purchase supports the company's “strategy to focus on the high growth super-premium and above segments of the category.”

“With the global strength of Diageo we expect to expand the reach of Casamigos to markets beyond the U.S. to capitalise on the significant international potential of the brand,” Mr Menezes said.

The deal is expected to close during the second half of 2017.

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