Sean “Diddy” Combs recently withdrew his lawsuit against Diageo, the liquor company he partnered with to distribute DeLeon tequila and Cîroc vodka. The deal lasted more than a decade, with the spirts giant claiming in a court filing that Combs had been paid nearly $1 billion throughout their partnership, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Without this lucrative deal — and others falling apart following former girlfriend Cassie’s sexual assault lawsuit settlement — just how much money does Diddy have left? That’s might be hard to determine, but he has been hit with financial fallout.
“Sean Combs and Diageo have now agreed to resolve all disputes between them,” Diageo said in a press statement. “Mr. Combs has withdrawn all of his allegations about Diageo and will voluntarily dismiss his lawsuits against Diageo with prejudice.”
With the withdrawal of his lawsuit, Combs has also ended a 17-year partnership with the company. In 2007, Combs Wines and Spirits began a business relationship with Diageo for the marketing and promotion of Cîroc. In 2013, Combs and Diageo expanded their relationship when the company co-purchased DeLeon with Combs’ business.
Combs launched the lawsuit in May 2023 against Diageo accusing the company of racial discrimination. He charged that the company had not provided the liquor brands with the same marketing and promotion as other brands such as Don Julio and Casamigos–brands also distributed by Diageo. When Diageo acquired Don Julio in 2014, the company committed a budget of $400 million to grow the brand. In 2017, when they acquired Casamigos, Diageo they spent an estimated $1 billion. Combs also accused Diageo of marketing DeLeon and Cîroc as urban liquor brands, a decision that he believed sidelined the purpose of the brands, which he wanted to be promoted in the general market.
“Following its acquisition of these competing brands, Diageo effectively abandoned DeLeón,” court documents revealed. “Diageo instead focused its market positioning efforts on brands like Casamigos (with its founders George Clooney, Randy Gerber, and Mike Meldman), Aviation Gin (with its owner Ryan Reynolds), and Ketel One (with the Nolet family) as its preferred choices for the broader market.”
Diageo requested that the lawsuit be dismissed in May 2023 as well. The company said they were ending their partnership with Combs because he had yet to meet previously agreed upon business obligations.
“We tried for years to salvage the broken relationship with Mr. Combs,” Diageo shared in its court filing. “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.”
Now that Combs has dropped his lawsuit and ended the partnership with Diageo, the company is the owner of both liquor brands.
But How Much of a Deal Was It?
While Diageo claims the deal put Diddy in the billionaire zone, he had no equity in the Cîroc partnership despite his two brands’ popularity resting on his shoulder — and that of his own personal brand. As Bloomberg reported, “Combs had created so much brand equity for Diageo in Cîroc, yet he didn’t own a nickel of it. So he and the company began talking about developing a product in which they would be equal partners. Perhaps a rum or a flavored spirit? They ended up settling on a brand that spoke directly to Combs’ vanity: DeLeón Tequila.”
Piling Lawsuits, Losing Billionaire Status
Combs has a current net worth of $900 million, according to Forbes. In October 2022, Combs reached billionaire status as a result of his business deals with brands such as Diageo, becoming the wealthiest hip-hop mogul and replacing fellow hip-hop mogul Kanye West on the coveted Forbes billionaires list.
Yet, Combs’ wealth has decreased with accusations of sexual assault by several women besides Cassie followed by several brands severing ties with him. In November 2023, Combs stepped down from his role as CEO of Revolt. He also ended his partnership with Capital Preparatory School. On top of this, Macy’s soon after the Cassie settlement reportedly decided to phase out Comb’s clothing line, Sean Jean. By December, Hulu canceled a reality show that was in development entitled, “Diddy+7.”
Possibly one of the biggest loses was a future project.
Diddy stood on the brink of establishing “the largest Black-owned cannabis company globally,” pledging assistance to Black individuals disproportionately affected by stringent drug laws. However, the $185 million deal to acquire the operations of two major cannabis companies across multiple states had collapsed by July and now with the sexual abuse lawsuits looming, it would seem doubtful he can secure new backing.