George Clooney is set to rake in a huge payday, but it isn't for his next blockbuster film. The 56-year-old actor and father of newborn twins is selling his tequila company, Casamigos, for a cool $1 billion.
The company made the announcement on Wednesday that Diageo was going to purchase it for an initial price of $700 million. Based on Casamigos' performance over the next 10 years, Diageo could pay out another $300 million to Clooney and his co-owners Rande Gerber and Michael Meldman.
"If you asked us four years ago if we had a billion dollar company, I don't think we would have said yes," Clooney wrote in an email to CNBC. "This reflects Diageo's belief in our company and our belief in Diageo. But we're not going anywhere. We'll still be very much a part of Casamigos. Starting with a shot tonight. Maybe two."
As for Diageo, the company doesn't expect to see earnings from the acquisition until its fourth year.
Ocean's 11 star George Clooney and his co-owners are planning to stay with Casamigos even after the company is bought out. Meldman is a real estate tycoon and Gerber founded multiple nightlife companies including Gerber Group and Midnight Oil.
When Casamigos started, the company was meant to serve as a collection of tequilas for Gerber and Clooney's friends and family. In 2013, the owners were forced to get a license to continue making the tequila and chose to take the company public.
"It was just for us," Gerber said while talking to CNBC back in November. "We didn't really want to be in the business. We figured, George is an actor and a director. I own restaurants and bars and wasn't looking to get in another business."
Gerber revealed that he and Clooney came up with the idea to start a company after vacationing at their side-by-side homes in Cabo San Lucas.
"As you do when you're in Mexico, you drink a lot of tequila," Gerber said. "After a couple of months trying a lot of different tequilas, George turned to me and said, 'Why don't we just make our own? One that's perfect for us to drink?'"
Clooney and Gerber had a distinct vision for how they wanted their tequila to taste. They found a distiller in Jalisco, Mexico and told them precisely what they desired.
"It was important that it tasted great and didn't burn going down," Gerber said. "We wanted one that we could drink straight or on the rocks. One that we could drink all day and all night, and not be hungover in the morning."
Gerber opened up about the first moment that he tasted their tequila.0comments
"George opened the sample, poured one for me, poured one for him, and we tasted it. We both looked at each other, had another taste of it, and we were like, 'This is it. It's perfect.'"
Photo Credit: Getty / Jeff Spicer / Stringer