Diageo manufactures and distributes branded beer and spirit products, the most famous and widely distributed of which is Guinness stout.
Its primary focus is on eight global priority brands that enjoy the strongest positions in the best-performing markets: Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray and Captain Morgan, which are concentrated on four key markets: North America, the UK, Ireland and Spain. At the same time, Diageo aims to develop a further tier of around 15 markets, each with potential to become a major market.
Arthur Guinness established the St James's Gate Brewery in Ireland in 1759. By the 1790s Guinness was being exported to the UK where it became a well-known product. The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1886.
Diageo was formed in December 1997 when Guinness and Grand Met merged to become the world's seventh-largest food and drinks group and the largest spirits group. Upon its formation, Diageo divided its business into four groups: Pillsbury, Burger King, Guinness, and United Distillers & Vintners (UDV). UDV was formed in 1998 by the merger of Guinness' spirits division, United Distillers, with the vodka and liqueurs business of Grand Met, International Distillers and Vintners. Guinness and UDV merged in 2000 to form Guinness UDV.
In September 2001, Diageo sold its Croft and Delaforce sherry and port brands for £52m. Three months later, Diageo completed the sale of its Pillsbury operations to General Mills.
Also in December 2001, Diageo announced the £800m auction of its Malibu rum brand now owned by Allied Domecq. Diageo agreed to sell the brand after the US Federal Trade Commission had blocked its purchase of the Canadian drinks group, Seagram, over fears that the addition of Seagram's Captain Morgan rum would have created a US rum duopoly between Diageo and the market leader Bacardi.
In June 2002, Diageo announced that it would be dropping the Guinness UDV name from its UK subsidiary from July. In its place will be the new title of Diageo Great Britain.
Diageo completed its £1.4bn sale of Burger King to a US consortium composed of Texas Pacific, Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs.
Operating profit £2118m
Employees c. 25,000
(Figures for year to June 30)
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, BBH, Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel,
Burkitt, Mother, JWT, Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi.
Media agency: Carat.
PR agencies: CPN, Lexus, Leedex.
Adspend (year to September)
Direct mail £1,407,539
Source: ACNielsen MMS
Marketing director, UK: Syl Saller
Park Royal Brewery, London
Tel: 020 8965 7700
Web site: www.diageo.com