Cheers! Clooney sells tequila brand to Guinness owner Diageo in $1bn deal
Global liquor giant Diageo said last night it will pay up to $1bn (€900m) to buy a tequila brand co-founded by movie star George Clooney.
Clooney founded the Casamigos brand just four years ago with partners Rande Gerber and Mike Meldma.
The deal comes at a busy time for the Hollywood actor, as his wife Amal gave birth to twins Ella and Alexander earlier this month.
Diageo said it will pay $700m for Casamigos at first, and then pay another $300m over 10 years if the brand reaches certain performance milestones.
London-based Diageo's other brands include Guinness, Johnnie Walker and Captain Morgan.
Clooney and Gerber, an entrepreneur who is married to supermodel Cindy Crawford, have appeared in ads for the brand. Diageo says the founders will continue to promote Casamigos and have a say in its future. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year.
"If you asked us four years ago if we had a billion dollar company, I don't think we would have said yes. This reflects Diageo's belief in our company and our belief in Diageo," Clooney wrote in a statement. "We'll still be very much a part of Casamigos. Starting with a shot tonight. Maybe two."
Clooney said that Casamigos - meaning house of friends - was born from tequila-filled nights, and was at first just for private events.
Casamigos reportedly came about when the distiller making tequila for the friends told them the quantities involved meant they had to get properly licensed.