Sean “Diddy” Combs and Diageo have “resolved all disputes,” both sides said on Tuesday morning, effectively concluding a long and intricate court battle in which Combs claimed the booze giant did not support marketing deals involving Ciroc vodka and DeLeón tequila. The parties announced the resolution in a brief statement that severed their commercial ties.
“Sean Combs and Diageo have finally agreed to settle any concerns between them. Mr. Combs has retracted all of his complaints concerning Diageo and will voluntarily dismiss his actions against Diageo with prejudice,” according to a statement signed by both parties. “Diageo and Mr. Combs have no ongoing business relationship, either with respect to Cîroc vodka or DeLeón tequila, which Diageo now solely owns.” Combs filed a lawsuit against Diageo in May 2023 in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, stating that the firm, which also distributes Johnnie Walker and Captain Morgan, among other liquor trademarks, had neglected the drinks under their shared management.
In his case, Combs claimed that Diageo did not provide Ciroc and DeLeón with the same level of marketing and promotion as it does for other properties in its portfolio. He further said Diageo had harmed the firm by selling Ciroc and DeLeón as “urban,” rather than for the general market. Diageo filed a motion to dismiss the complaint the following month in the same jurisdiction, stating that it would no longer deal with Combs, who has developed a clothing line and restaurants over the years and owns a share in the Revolt TV cable network. However, Diageo maintained that Combs had failed to meet responsibilities to which he had previously agreed.
Separately, Combs is also entangled in various lawsuits coming from sexual assault allegations, prompting his temporary resignation as chairman of Revolt and the cancelation of his Hulu reality show.Combs Wines and Spirits entered into a marketing arrangement with Diageo in 2007 to market and promote Ciroc. In 2013, Diageo and Combs’ business jointly owned DeLeon.”We are saddened that Mr. Combs has chosen to recast a business dispute as anything other than that, thereby damaging a productive and valued partnership,” Diageo stated after filing suit last year.
“Mr. Combs’ bad-faith activities obviously breached his contracts, leaving us with no alternative but to proceed to dismiss his frivolous case and terminate our commercial relationship. Mr. Combs has consistently harmed our collaborations and threatened to publicly slander Diageo if we did not comply with his outrageous financial demands,” Diageo stated in a statement. “Diageo is committed to the success of the CIRÔC and DeLeón brands, which is why we tried for years to salvage the broken relationship with Mr. Combs.” We backed the joint venture’s acquisition of DeLeón and then invested more than $100 million in brand growth. Despite making over a billion dollars throughout our 15-year association, Mr. Combs contributed only $1,000 and refused to honor his pledges.”
The corporation went on to say: “We have exhausted every reasonable remedy and see no other path forward.””Diageo’s attempt to stop its ties with Mr. Combs is akin to terminating a whistleblower who exposes prejudice. “It’s a cynical and transparent attempt to distract from multiple allegations of discrimination,” Combs’ attorney, John C. Hueston, said in a statement. “Over the years, he has repeatedly expressed worries about senior executives making racially inappropriate remarks and making biased judgments based on that viewpoint.
Diageo has acknowledged the issue by committing in his contract to treat DeLeon the same as their other tequila brands. He filed the action to compel them to fulfill their obligations under the contract, but they responded by attempting to remove him. This lawsuit and Mr. Combs will not go away.”Diageo has over 200 liquor brands, including Don Julio and Casamigos tequila, which it bought from celebrity inventor George Clooney and his associates in 2017.