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Rapper Diddy helps Diageo recover from Cuervo

Diageo has reasserted its position in the Tequila market after announcing its joint acquisition of Deleón Tequila with rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs.

Diageo’s Larry Schwartz and Sean “Diddy” Combs have announced their joint acquisition of Deleón Tequila

As reported in The Spirits Business earlier this week, reports have been circulating over Diddy’s involvement with Deleón over recent weeks.

Diageo has now confirmed that it has embarked on a 50/50 joint venture with the music mogul, building on the partnership initially formed through Cîroc vodka.

This news marks a significant move by Diageo, whose position in the Tequila market has been under question since its loss of Jose Cuervo in December 2012.

“The joint venture with Combs Wine & Spirits and its purchase of DeLeón is Diageo’s latest step towards returning to a leading position in Tequila in North America,” said Larry Schwartz, President of Diageo North America.

“Expanding our relationship with Sean Combs into tequila was a natural choice given Sean’s ability to galvanise 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.”

Deleon Tequila, founded by Brent Hocking in 2008, consists of Diamante, Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo bottlings, as well as a limited edition 100% blue agave expression called Leóna, all priced between US$120 and US$1,000.

Sean Combs, chairman of Combs Wines and Spirits, said: “Celebration is a cornerstone of all my businesses, and this joint venture is a natural extension of that portfolio.”

“DeLeón is an outstanding brand that appeals to those who love exceptional tequila in a distinctive bottle. Together with Diageo, we will take DeLeón to new heights.”

Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes had hinted at acquiring a new brand of Tequila following the end of its distribution agreement of Jose Cuervo, telling reporters in July that the group had some “exciting ideas in the pipeline”.

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