Louisville-based alcoholic beverage giant Brown-Forman Inc. and European rival Diageo are hot on the trail of Jose Cuervo, according to industry reports.

The Sunday Times of London reported yesterday that London-based Diageo PLC is considering a $2 billion bid for Jose Cuervo, owned by Tequila Cuervo La Rojeña, S.A. de C.V. of Mexico City.

Diageo already owns global distribution rights for the tequila brand, according to the Times story.

Brown-Forman, along with Paris-based Pernod Ricard, also are named as Jose Cuervo suitors.

Brown-Forman has $238 million more in its war chest after the sale two weeks ago of most of its California wine portfolio to Vina Concha y Toro, based in Santiago, Chile.

But Diageo is far larger – the largest alcoholic beverages maker in the world by volume, with global brands Tanqueray gin, Smirnoff vodka, Guiness beer and Johnnie Walker whiskey.

For more about the Brown-Forman/Diageo duel:

“Diageo’s Tequila Shot”: (Sunday Times subscription)

“Diageo-Possible offre de $2 mds pour la tequila J.Cuervo /presse” (Reuters/France)

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