Diageo calls time on Jose Cuervo talks

James Thompson@Thompj
Wednesday 12 December 2012 00:30

Drinks giant Diageo has called time on its bid to buy Mexico's Jose Cuervo tequila brand, ending year-long talks.

It had been expected to acquire Cuervo, the world's biggest tequila brand, from Mexico's wealthy Beckmann family for more than $3bn (£1.9bn) but today admitted the talks had ended.

Diageo said both companies would now ensure "an orderly termination" of its long-standing distribution agreement at the end of June 2013 to sell Cuervo outside of Mexico.

The failed deal marks a rare hiccup for Diageo, which has sailed through the global downturn with almost uninterrupted demand for its brands and a series of acquisitions.

The company last month said it plans to acquire 53.4 per cent of United Spirits for almost £1.3bn to give it control of the Vladivar vodka and Whyte & Mackay whisky brands in the fast-growing Indian market.

Diageo has also completed deals for Brazilian, Turkish and Chinese distillers during the past two years.

The Beckmanns are understood to have valued Cuervo at up to $500m more than Diageo, with the UK firm believing a significant investment was required to turn around falling sales in North America, and improve margins.

Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh said: "It has not been possible to agree a transaction which delivers value for Diageo's shareholders and therefore, by mutual agreement, we have terminated our discussions."

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