Patron Spirits International AG, maker of the popular Patron tequila — co-founded by Greek-American billionaire John Paul DeJoria — has been sold to drinks giant Bacardi Limited for $5.1 billion.
The companies announced on Monday that as part of the acquisition, DeJoria — who is currently worth an estimated $3.4 billion, according to Forbes — will sell his 70 percent stake in the company.
DeJoria, whose mother emigrated to the U.S. from the Greek city of Kavala, launched Patron in 1989 with cofounder Martin Crowley, who died in 2003. He became Patron’s majority owner in 2008.
In a press release DeJoria said: “We started this business more than a quarter century ago with a singular mission – to create an ultra-premium, luxury tequila
“Today, with that continued commitment to quality and several other extraordinary brands in our portfolio, we produce more than three million cases of distilled spirits annually that are enjoyed around the world.
“I am proud of what our entire organization has accomplished, and the work we do in giving back to the people and communities in which we operate.”
The billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist takes great pride in his Greek heritage.
He visited Greece in 2017 and offered a timely talk to young Greek entrepreneurs at a Hellenic Initiative event titled: “How to start a business with little or no money.”
DeJoria knows the subject very well. When he started his empire he was so poor that he had to sleep in his car in Los Angeles.
In September 2017, DeJoria was added to Forbes’ list of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds.
In an essay published in the magazine as part of that issue, he credited much of his success to his application of the ‘Golden Rule’: “Treat and pay your staff exactly the way you’d want to be treated if you were in their place,” he wrote.