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Bacardi has acquired a "significant" - albeit unspecified - minority stake in The Patrón Spirits Company.

The Bermuda-based, family-owned company confirmed today (29 July) that, as part of the transaction, Bacardi vice chairman Barry Kabalkin will take up a seat on the board of Patrón's parent company, Caribbean Distillers Corporation (CDC).

John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of Patrón, will become the principal owner of CDC, a company he co-founded in 1989 with Martin Crowley.

The transaction will also result in an unspecified payment to Martin Crowley's estate, which will go to the Windsong Trust, a charity set up by Crowley prior to his death in 2003.

"Martin and I shared a commitment to help those in need of assistance throughout the world, and I'm pleased to say that implementation of this agreement will make a truly meaningful difference to those who deserve it most," said DeJoria. "The company has done extremely well, due in large part to our outstanding team of employees, and we have an incredible opportunity to build upon that success with Bacardi, while realising Martin's dream to help the world's underprivileged children."

Bacardi's chairman, Facundo Bacardi, added: "John Paul DeJoria and Martin Crowley are to be congratulated for creating an extraordinary, hand-crafted product and achieving its enormous success in the marketplace - and for their contribution to the growth of the Tequila industry overall. We look forward to this new relationship and to working together."

Although the two companies said that they intend to operate independently from each other, and that the agreement does not provide for changes in the day-to-day operations of Patrón or in Patrón's management or distributor network, the relationship was expected to lead to "beneficial synergies".

Last year, Bacardi reportedly launched a lawsuit against Martin Crowley's estate, to stop it spending around $755m on educating underprivileged children around the world. In January 2007, Crowley's executors agreed that DeJoria could acquire Crowley's 50% holding in CDC for $755m, a move Bacardi blocked by claiming it had a prior agreement with Crowley's executors to buy the stake for $175m.

Co-executor, Gigi Osco-Bingemann, said today: "This agreement will ensure that Martin will be remembered for helping to educate disadvantaged children around the world." The other co-executor, Vadim Fridman, added: "Gigi and I are excited to finally begin to fulfill Martin's legacy."


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