New York-based Tequila Avion, the 5-year-old spirits brand backed by big name investors – including AOL’s Tim Armstrong, YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley and Coach Chairman Lew Frankfort – has sold a significant majority stake to French beverage giant Pernod Ricard.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed – but sources close to the deal peg the sale price at about $100 million.
The acquisition is believed to be a cash deal, a source told The Post.
The deal comes as the volume of super premium tequilas like Avion sold in the US have soared 481 percent over the last 11 years, according to industry figures.
Overall tequila shipments are up 83 percent over that same period.
Tequila Avion, which can cost up to $150 a bottle, was started in 2009 by former Marquis Jets executive Ken Austin.
It got a big boost after Austin, a longtime pal of “Entourage” creator Doug Ellin, convinced Ellin to feature the brand on the popular HBO series that ran for eight seasons through 2011.
The sale to Pernod is a big win for Austin, who set out to create the tequila after a conversation with Warren Buffett.
The noted billionaire investor noted the absence of a No. 2 brand in the premium tequila world – after No. 1 Patron.
After the chat with the Oracle of Omaha, Austin scouted for a Mexican family to work with to create what he hoped would be the world’s best-tasting tequila.
Meanwhile, Pernod Ricard, whose global stable of spirits brands include Absolut, Chivas, Kahlúa, Jameson and Beefeater, is looking to grow its US business.
Earlier this year, it acquired Kenwood, the Sonoma, Calif., vineyard, for under $100 million, according to Reuters.
Source: New York Post