Diageo ends Diddy partnership

The Guinness maker has dismissed the rapper’s “baseless complaint” of racism after he accused it of failing to get behind their joint venture on tequila brand DeLeón.

Sean Combs, aka Diddy. Source: Shutterstock

Diageo has ended its long term partnership with Sean Combs, weeks after the rapper and entrepreneur accused the firm of not supporting the tequila brand DeLeón.

Combs, via his company Combs Wines and Spirits, announced plans to sue Diageo last month accusing the drinks maker of racism and intentional sabotage of DeLeón, a 50-50 joint venture agreed in 2013, but one funded by Diageo.

Combs alleged Diageo had been too narrow in its targeting, focussing efforts on the “urban” market and that the partnership had not been given the same attention as some of its other celebrity partnerships.

Diageo hit back at the claims made by Combs in a statement issued today (27 June), saying Combs’ “baseless complaint leaves it with no choice but to terminate the relationship”, which also includes the Ciroc brand. Diageo is asking for the suit to be dismissed.

The Guinness owner said Combs’ “bad-faith actions have clearly breached his contracts”, adding that he has “repeatedly undermined our partnerships and threatened to publicly defame Diageo if we did not meet his unreasonable financial demands. ”

It added: “Diageo believes strongly in the CIRÔC and DeLeón brands and remains committed to their success, which is why we tried for years to salvage the broken relationship with Mr. Combs.”

“We have exhausted every reasonable remedy and see no other path forward,” it concluded.

Combs Wines and Spirits could not be reached for comment.

What caused Diddy to turn on Diageo?


What caused Diddy to turn on Diageo?

Mark Ritson

After a successful and lucrative partnership on vodka brand Ciroc spanning more than 15 years, Sean Combs filed a law suit against Diageo this week, accusing the business of racism and neglect. Whatever the outcome, it looks like the end of the relationship. 

Mark Ritson

Go Diddy, the daddy of Ciroc’s branding

Mark Ritson

“There really is nothing quite like vodka,” said my friend Miguel as we clinked martini glasses and then drank them dry. I was in New York last week and a free evening meant that I had time to catch up with one of my oldest contacts in the wine and spirits business.