SURPRISE SHOT

George Clooney owns a tequila company, and it just sold for up to $1 billion

George Clooney’s best shot was never in a movie. Turns out it was likely poured out of a bottle of tequila.

For four years the Hollywood actor has been a part owner in Casamigos, the tequila company he helped found along with Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman. Today (June 21) their company was purchased by Diageo, the multinational alcoholic beverages company headquartered in the UK, for as much as $1 billion, according to a statement by Diageo. The company is purchasing Clooney’s tequila business for $700 million, with an extra $300 million possibility based on the brand’s performance over the next decade.

Diageo’s interest in Casamigos—which reportedly shipped 120,000 cases in 2016—is in line with a trend that’s unfolded over recent years, in which giant beverage companies have scooped up smaller, often higher-end brands to add to their portfolios. It’s been happening in bourbons, whiskey, and wine. Still, this $1 billion purchase is larger than the typical deal. Earlier this year, Sazerac bought two brands, Southern Comfort and Fireball from Brown-Forman for $544 million.

Clooney’s tequila has been marketed as a premium brand, a beverage “made by friends for friends.” The friend vibes were on full display earlier this month, on National Best Friends Day, when Clooney got into the spirit on the Casamigos Instagram account with his best friend of 20 years (and neighbor) Gerber:

Looking back to where it all began. #NationalBestFriendDay #HouseOfFriends

A post shared by Casamigos Tequila (@casamigos) on

“To date, the founders have built a brand that has thrived under their organic approach in reaching and expanding their ‘house of friends,’ and they will continue to promote the brand and provide their leadership and vision,” the Diageo statement says.

The deal is expected to close sometime later this year, pending regulatory clearances.

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