Guinness maker Diageo in talks to buy Cuervo: report

25th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's Diageo -- maker of Guinness and Smirnoff vodka -- is in talks to buy the Cuervo tequila brand from the family that has owned it for centuries, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

The Times cited an unnamed source close to the matter as saying that talks were in the preliminary stages and may not lead to a deal.

If successful, it would be a major acquisition for the beer, wine and spirits giant, which already has international distribution rights to the Cuervo brand.

The Beckmann family traces its ownership of the top-selling tequila line to 1795, when the King of Spain granted Jose Antonio de Cuervo a commercial license to produce tequila in Mexico's Jalisco region, where it is still made.

In February Diageo bought Turkish spirits giant Mey Icki for 1.5 billion euros (£1.3 billion, $2.1 billion), ramping up its presence in fast-growing emerging markets.

The deal was expected to be completed in the second half of 2011, subject to regulatory approvals.

Mey Icki is Turkey's market leader in raki, an aniseed-flavored spirit that is considered the Muslim country's national drink. The company also has a leading position in vodka.

© 2011 AFP

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