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Bacardi is buying Patron in deal that values the tequila company at $5.1 billion

  • Bacardi Limited is buying the maker of Patron tequila.
  • The deal values the Patron brand at $5.1 billion.
Gabriel Olsen | FilmMagic | Getty Images

Bacardi Limited will acquire the maker of Patron in a deal valued at $5.1 billion, the spirits company announced Monday.

Patron is a well-known brand of ultra-premium tequila. Bacardi, which is known for its rum, took a minority stake in the brand's parent company in 2008.

The deal will make Bacardi the No. 1 spirits player in the super-premium segment in the U.S. and the second largest spirits company in market share by value in the U.S. after Diageo, Jefferies analyst Edward Mundy wrote in a note.

"Adding Patron to the Bacardi portfolio creates a tremendous opportunity for the brand outside of the United States as Bacardi's international distribution network will help grow Patron around the world, increasing scale in the U.S. and globally," said Mahesh Madhavan, CEO of Bacardi Limited.

This is Madhavan's first major deal. He was appointed in October.

"We detect greater direction at Bacardi following the change of CEO in October, and the acquisition of Patron sends a strong message on priorities: focus on the U.S., focus on higher-growth premium brands, and focus on growing Patron distribution globally," Mundy wrote.

Tequila has been a very fast-growing category, which has benefited from consumers' shifting taste away from beer and vodka. People are seeing super-premium tequila as a drink to sip, not just to bury in margarita mix.

Since 2002, tequila volumes have grown about 6 percent each year, on average, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

Patron's leadership will remain in place when the deal closes. The deal is expected to close in the first half of this year.