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Diddy And Diageo End Legal Dispute

According to a report from Variety, in a recent announcement, Sean "Diddy" Combs and Diageo have declared that they have resolved all disputes, putting an end to what seemed to be a long and complicated legal battle. Combs had previously accused the liquor giant of not supporting marketing agreements involving Ciroc vodka and DeLeón tequila. The resolution was announced in a brief statement that also included the severance of their business ties.

“Sean Combs and Diageo have now agreed to resolve all disputes between them. Mr. Combs has withdrawn all of his allegations about Diageo and will voluntarily dismiss his lawsuits against Diageo with prejudice,” the statement, attributed to both parties, reads. “Diageo and Mr. Combs have no ongoing business relationship, either with respect to Cîroc vodka or DeLeón tequila, which Diageo now solely owns.”

In May 2023, Sean "Diddy" Combs filed a lawsuit against Diageo in New York Supreme Court, alleging that the company had neglected Ciroc vodka and DeLeón tequila, which were under their joint control.

Diageo, which also distributes Johnnie Walker and Captain Morgan, among other liquor brands, was accused of not providing equal marketing and promotion for these spirits as it did for other brands in its portfolio. Combs further alleged that Diageo had marketed Ciroc and DeLeón as "urban," thereby undermining the business by limiting its appeal to a niche market. It seems that both parties have now resolved their disputes and severed their business ties.

In the following month after Combs filed the lawsuit, Diageo made a filing in the same jurisdiction calling for the suit to be dismissed. The company also declared that it would no longer be working with Combs, who has launched several successful ventures over the years, including a clothing line, restaurants, and a stake in the Revolt TV cable network. Diageo, however, claimed that Combs had failed to meet certain obligations to which he had previously agreed. It's unclear what the specific obligations were and how they may have contributed to the legal dispute. Nevertheless, both parties have now resolved their differences and announced the severance of their business ties.

Separately, Combs is currently the respondent in several lawsuits surrounding sexual assault charges that have brought about his temporary resignation as chairman of Revolt and the cancellation of his Hulu reality show.

Combs Wines and Spirits and Diageo entered into a marketing agreement in 2007 for the promotion and marketing of Ciroc. In 2013, Diageo co-purchased DeLeon along with Combs' company.

“We are saddened that Mr. Combs has chosen to recast a business dispute as anything other than that and chosen to damage a productive and valued partnership,” Diageo said after filing suit last year. “Mr. Combs’ bad-faith actions have clearly breached his contracts and left us no choice but to move to dismiss his baseless complaint and end our business relationship. Mr. Combs has repeatedly undermined our partnerships and threatened to publicly defame Diageo if we did not meet his unreasonable financial demands,” Diageo said in a statement. “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 funded the purchase of DeLeón for the joint venture and proceeded to invest more than $100 million to grow the brand. Despite having made nearly a billion dollars over the course of our 15-year relationship, Mr. Combs contributed a total of $1,000 and refused to honor his commitments.”

The company further stated: “We have exhausted every reasonable remedy and see no other path forward.”

“Diageo attempting to end its deals with Mr. Combs is like firing a whistleblower who calls out racism. It’s a cynical and transparent attempt to distract from multiple allegations of discrimination,” said John C. Hueston, the attorney for Combs, in a statement.

“Over the years, he has repeatedly raised concerns as senior executives uttered racially insensitive comments and made biased decisions based on that point of view. Diageo even acknowledged the problem by agreeing in his contract to treat DeLeon the same way it treated their other tequila brands. He brought the lawsuit to force them to live up to that contract, and instead they respond by trying to get rid of him. This lawsuit and Mr. Combs are not going away.”

Diageo owns a vast portfolio of over 200 liquor brands, including Don Julio tequila and Casamigos tequila, which it acquired in 2017 from celebrity founder George Clooney and his partners. 

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