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British drinks giant Diageo announced Monday the sale of Seagram’s VO whisky and 18 other brands to US firm Sazerac for $550 million to focus on premium US labels.
The deal, worth 488 million euros, will also see Diageo offload Seagram’s 83 and Seagram’s Five Star, as well as Goldschlager schnapps, Myers’s rum, Peligroso tequila, Popov vodka and Romana Sambuca. 
Net proceeds of £340 million ($440 million, 390 million euros), after tax and transaction costs, will be returned to shareholders via a stock repurchase.
‘Diageo has a clear strategy to deliver consistent efficient growth and value creation for our shareholders,’ said chief executive Ivan Menezes in a statement.
‘This includes a disciplined approach to allocating resources and capital to ensure we maximise returns over time.
‘The disposal of these brands enables us to have even greater focus on the faster growing premium and above brands in the US spirits portfolio.’
The deal, subject to regulatory approval, is set to be completed early next year.
Diageo also produces Guinness stout, Smirnoff vodka, Baileys liqueur and Johnnie Walker whisky.
In 2017, the London-listed giant bought Casamigos, an upscale ‘super premium’ tequila brand co-founded by Hollywood star George Clooney.
Jeremy Cunnington, senior analyst at research group Euromonitor International, noted however that ‘premiumisation’ – or the move into premium brand alcoholic drinks – was only part of the logic behind Diageo’s deal on Monday.
‘While premiumisation is a part of this, it is not entirely,’ Cunnington told AFP.
‘A part of this is also return on investment and the company feels that it can get better returns by focusing resources on the core of its portfolio.
‘That it is not about premiumisation can be seen the inclusion of the Peligroso super-premium tequila brand which it bought back in 2014,’ he added.
Diageo’s share price closed 0.25 percent lower at £27.39 pence on London’s FTSE 100 index, which ended down 0.74 percent.