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Sean "Diddy" Combs and Diageo Announce New Joint Venture and Acquisition of Luxury Tequila Brand DeLeon

Joint venture follows successful strategic alliance on Ciroc ultra-premium vodka

NEW YORK, Jan. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Diageo, the world's leading premium drinks business, and Sean Combs today announced that they have furthered their relationship by creating a new joint venture that has purchased luxury tequila brand DeLeon.

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The joint venture, a 50/50 global partnership between Diageo and Combs Wine & Spirits, builds on a strategic alliance formed by Diageo and Combs Enterprises to develop and grow the Ciroc ultra-premium vodka brand. Since the alliance began in 2007, Ciroc has grown from just 50,000 cases a year into a nearly 2 million case brand.  The DeLeon joint venture will benefit from Diageo's strong distribution network, supply chain, and marketing capability and Sean Combs' access to influencers and proven track record of marketing luxury lifestyle brands.

DeLeon is a 100% blue weber agave boutique tequila brand with a loyal following in Hollywood and the U.S. music industry. The brand appeals to an important audience of status-conscious consumers who choose spirit brands as part of their luxury lifestyle.  The acquisition of DeLeon will accelerate Diageo's share of ultra-premium and above ($40+) tequila, which is the second-fastest growing tequila segment in the U.S., according to Nielsen. 

"The joint venture with Combs Wine & Spirits and its purchase of DeLeon 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 Ciroc.  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 DeLeon."

"Celebration is a cornerstone of all my businesses, and this joint venture is a natural extension of that portfolio," said Sean Combs, Chairman, Combs Wine & Spirits. "DeLeon is an outstanding brand that appeals to those who love exceptional tequila in a distinctive bottle. Together with Diageo, we will take DeLeon to new heights."

Brent Hocking, founder of DeLeon tequila, added: "In creating DeLeon, I brought the skills of fine wine-making and natural barrel aging to the art of tequila. The result was a spirit unparalleled in purity and taste. I am entrusting DeLeon Tequila to the capable hands of Diageo and Sean Combs as both have demonstrated a commitment to luxury and quality which reflects my own commitment to the DeLeon brand."  

DeLeon has five variants with current suggested retail prices that range from $120.00 to over $1,000.00 per bottle.  The brand has been distributed in 18 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.

About Diageo
Diageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O) is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Windsor, Buchanan's and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Ciroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray, Guinness, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards Wines.

Diageo is a global company, with its products sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at Diageo.com. For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit DRINKiQ.com.

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.

About Combs Wine & Spirits
Combs Wine & Spirits is a privately owned, premium spirits and wine business founded and created by Sean "Diddy" Combs in 2013. The company, based in New York, NY, is now a partner with Diageo on DeLeon Tequila. Blue Flame, another of Sean's enterprises, has collaborated with Diageo in marketing Ciroc ultra-premium vodka in the US since 2007.


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