22 June 2017

Clooney ain't poor, either

Bloomberg has an article about George getting rich(er):

George Clooney may be the face of fancy coffee, but it’s in premium tequila that he has hit the real jackpot.
Diageo Plc agreed to acquire fast-growing tequila brand Casamigos, co-founded four years ago by Clooney, for as much as a billion dollars. The deal expands the London, England-based distiller’s lineup in a fast-growing category, where it already owns the Don Julio, DeLeon, and Peligroso brands.
The purchase will be Diageo’s biggest since its three billion dollar acquisition of United Spirits Ltd. in 2014. After that deal boosted its presence in India, the owner of the Smirnoff brand is moving to strengthen its US business, which has returned to growth after a difficult stretch following a slowdown in vodka sales. Meanwhile, tequila volume in the US more than doubled from 2002 through 2015, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.
Clooney, better known for his role in movies such as Ocean’s Eleven and as a pitchman for Nespresso coffee, created Casamigos in 2013 with developer Mike Meldman and entertainment entrepreneur Rande Gerber, who’s married to model Cindy Crawford. They got in on the tequila boom after tasting together in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where Clooney and Gerber had built vacation homes. Now they’re cashing out with an initial consideration of seven hundred million dollars that could be followed by a further three hundred million, based on a performance-linked earn-out over ten years, according to a Diageo statement. “The price looks high,” Trevor Stirling, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein said by phone. “So much of this depends on their belief in the growth rate of this brand.”
Casamigos is growing at forty to fifty percent and is on track to sell nearly two hundred thousand twelve-bottle cases this year, Diageo North America President Deirdre Mahlan said on a call. That compares with about twenty-six million cases of Smirnoff vodka Diageo sells annually. Brands growing at such a pace are “notoriously challenging to value under traditional methods,” Mahlan said.
Casamigos, packaged in clear bottles with Clooney’s signature adorning the label, is distilled by an undisclosed partner in Mexico. Casamigos is sold in three expressions, at $45 to $55: Blanco, which is clear, Reposado, which is golden-colored, and Anejo, a dark amber variant and the brand’s oldest.
The brand has been marketed with pictures of the founders enjoying it, captioned with the slogan, “Brought to you by those who drink it.” Clooney, Gerber, and Meldman will continue to promote the brand. Their stakes were not disclosed.
Drinkers are increasingly drawn to alcohol with a Mexican heritage amid a change in the way it’s served: bartenders in the US are stocking more expensive tequilas fit for sipping neat rather than mixing in margarita cocktails. In response, Diageo and its rivals have been expanding their lineups of tequila and mezcal, both of which are produced from the agave plant. Pernod Ricard SA this month agreed to acquire Del Maguey mezcal, following a distribution agreement by Diageo with Mezcal Union signed in February of 2016.
The Casamigos purchase “supports our strategy to focus on the high growth super-premium-and-above segments of the category,” Diageo Chief Executive Officer Ivan Menezes said in the statement. He added that the company aims to expand the brand’s presence outside the US.
The initial price tag of seven hundred million essentially uses up the company’s three-year, five-hundred-million-pound ($633 million) cost-savings program, wrote Duncan Fox, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.
The deal will be funded through a combination of cash and debt, and Diageo expects it to have limited impact on earnings per share for the first three years and to be accretive thereafter. Diageo said the agreement, which was reached without a formal auction process, should close in the second half.
Rico says he's never felt sorry for Clooney, the good-looking bastard...

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