Diageo plc is a British multinational alcoholic beverages company headquartered in London, England. It is the world’s largest producer of spirits and a major producer of beer and wine.
Diageo’s brands include Smirnoff (the world’s best-selling vodka), Johnnie Walker (the world’s best-selling blended Scotch whisky), Baileys (the world’s best-selling liqueur) and Guinness (the world’s best-selling stout). It also owns 34% of Moët Hennessy, which owns brands including Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Hennessy. It sells its products in over 180 countries and has offices in around 80 countries.
Diageo is an invented name that was created by the branding consultancy Wolff Olins in 1997. The name is composed of the Latin word “dia”, meaning day, and the Greek root “geo”, meaning world, and is meant to reference the company giving pleasure every day, everywhere.
Diageo was formed in 1997 from the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan, under the authorization of Guinness’s Philip Yea and Anthony Greener, along with Grand Metropolitan’s John Mcgrath and George Bull. Shares in Diageo began trading on the London Stock Exchange on 17 December 1997.
Diageo owned Pillsbury until 2000 when it was sold to General Mills. In 2002, Diageo sold the Burger King fast food restaurant chain to a consortium led by US firm Texas Pacific for $1.5 billion. During February 2011, Diageo acquired Mey Icki, a Turkish Liquor company for a total of $2.1 billion.
In recent years, Diageo has invested in many companies.