DUBLIN – British drinks company Diageo says it is selling its Northern Ireland whiskey brand, Bushmills, to tequila king Jose Cuervo in a swap deal that will give Diageo sole ownership of an upmarket Mexican tequila maker, Don Julio.
Diageo says it made the swap because it already owns two dozen Scotch whisky brands and wants to expand in Latin America.
Diageo and Mexico City-based Cuervo have jointly owned Don Julio since 2003. Cuervo, the world's biggest tequila maker, in 2012 rejected a Diageo takeover bid.
In Monday's statement confirming their agreement, Diageo says it will receive Cuervo's share of Don Julio and $408 million in cash in exchange for Bushmills, Ireland's oldest legally licensed distillery founded in 1608.
Diageo bought Bushmills in 2005 for 200 million pounds ($320 million).