NORWALK, Conn., June 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Diageo, the world's leading spirits, wine and beer company, and The Nolet Group, the family-owned distiller of Ketel One Vodka, announced today that they have completed a transaction to form a new 50/50 company that will own the perpetual exclusive global rights to sell, market and distribute super-premium Ketel One Vodka and Ketel One Citroen. Diageo paid $900 million for its 50 percent equity stake in the new company, which will be based in the Netherlands. The Nolet family will continue to own the distillery in Schiedam, Holland, and will supply Ketel One Vodka and Ketel One Citroen to the new company. Due to its rights under the agreements, Diageo will fully consolidate the financial results of the new company, accounting for the Nolet holding as a minority interest. "This transaction further enhances Diageo's platform in the fast-growing super-premium vodka segment," said Paul Walsh, Chief Executive, Diageo Plc. "Ketel One Vodka is an outstanding high quality brand rich in heritage. In joining with the Nolet family, we are eager to bring our outstanding marketing expertise and strong track record of brand stewardship to Ketel One Vodka to maximize its potential for global growth." "We are extremely proud of what we've achieved building the Ketel One Vodka brand. It's a testament to the power of our unique approach and the appeal of our brand's heritage," said Carel Nolet, Sr. Chairman of The Nolet Group. "This alliance with Diageo is key for The Nolet Group and the Ketel One brand because we will now have sales, marketing and distribution expertise that will help us to build on our success and make Ketel One Vodka a truly global brand." In 2007 Ketel One Vodka and Ketel One Citroen had a combined annual volume of 1.9 million cases. It is sold primarily in North America in the super-premium vodka segment and will complement Diageo's premium Smirnoff and its ultra-premium Ciroc brands. Similarly, outside the United States Ketel One Vodka will expand Diageo's brand range in vodka. "The Nolet family has built Ketel One Vodka into an iconic brand and we are very pleased to embark on this journey with them and continue to build on this success," said Ivan Menezes, President and CEO, Diageo North America. "As the spirits market in the United States expands and consumers continue to premiumize, Ketel One Vodka enables us to offer our consumers another super-premium choice." About Diageo Diageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O) is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, wines, and beer categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines. Diageo is a global company, trading in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at http://www.diageo.com/ . Celebrating life, every day, everywhere, responsibly. About The Nolet Group Since 1691 the Nolet family, through The Nolet Group, manages the production, distribution, sales and marketing for a range of super premium spirit brands including Ketel 1 Jenever and Ketel One Vodka at the Nolet Distillery. The business originated in Schiedam, Holland where it still operates its distillery today. The Nolet Group values personal relationships with its distributors, bartenders and consumers who are essential for the success of the company and its products. In 2007, the company produced 1.9 million cases with a turnover of approximately Euro 165 million. The Nolet family is actively involved with The Nolet Group under the leadership of 10th generation Carel Nolet Sr. and his younger son Bob Nolet, both based in Schiedam, and his older son, Carel Nolet Jr., based in California, USA. The Nolet Group employs approximately 180 employees. You can learn more at http://www.ketelone.com/.