Jay-Z Sues Bacardi Over D’Ussé Partnership, Demands to See All Books and Records (UPDATE)

Jay-Z has filed a lawsuit against spirit company Bacardi over the brand's lack of financial clarity involving their partnership with D’Ussé.

Jay Z is seen following the conclusion of Game One of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center

Image via Getty/Ezra Shaw

Jay Z is seen following the conclusion of Game One of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center

UPDATED 11/04/22, 7:55 p.m. ET: Barcardi’s subsidiary company Empire Investments has responded to Jay-Z’s lawsuit, and has claimed they agreed upon a deal last year and has tried to back out.

Per TMZ, the company said the two parties had a “handshake deal” that they came to in December, 2021, with Empire agreeing to buy Hov’s stake in the D’Ussé cognac line. However, they said that Jay “abruptly reneged on its agreement and doubled its demanded valuation.” While the newly filed legal documents fail to note what price they agreed upon, Jay has stated that he believes they weren’t showing him the true value of the brand.

The majority of the legal document pertaining to the agreement is redacted, likely on account of neither party wanting any potential valuations made public. 

On Friday, a hearing on a motion to seal was held. Despite denying the request to seal the entire file, Justice Andrea Masley was open to redacting certain portions that contain competitive information. During the hearing, it was mentioned that the case was previously in arbitration with panelist George Gluck, Daniel Schimmel, and Marc J. Goldstein.

UPDATED 10/21, 12:30 a.m. ET: TMZ’s now reporting that Jay-Z is looking to get out of the D’Ussé business entirely, and figuring out a fair price is a sticking point.

The outlet says Hov is “selling it to his partners at Bacardi, but he suspects the company’s playing a high stakes ‘shell game’” since SC Liquor “exercised its right to a buyout” roughly a year back.

In court documents, per TMZ, Jay contends that “Bacardi’s subsidiary, Empire Investments Inc., is trying to ‘stall and stonewall’ all efforts to get financial info on the valuation of D’Ussé.”

See original story below.

Jay-Z has filed a lawsuit against spirit company Bacardi, over the brand’s lack of financial clarity involving their partnership with D’Ussé.

Per TMZ, the lawsuit was filed by Hov’s company SC Liquor, which is demanding Bacardi open their books so that the Roc-a-Fella mogul can see exactly how much he’s making with D’Ussé, the cognac brand in which Bacardi and Jay are 50/50 partners.

Jay-Z has co-owned D’Ussé since 2011, and famously drank it straight out of one of the Grammy Awards he won for Watch the Throne in 2013. The suit demands that Jay be given access to the production warehouses, D’Ussé barrels, bottles, and all other info regarding Bacardi’s inventory-keeping process. SC Liquor writes that it needs to “monitor the conduct of [Bacardi’s] business to protect SC’s rights” as a partner.

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Speaking of Watch the Throne, Kanye West talked about a potential sequel to the blockbuster project during a controversial interview he gave on Drink Champs this week, and shouted out D’Usee in the process.

“This D’Ussé is brought to you by my brother Hov,” Ye said at one point. “Courtesy of The Throne. Part 2 coming soon.”

In September 2018, Kanye West confirmed the album was in the works when he tweeted: “throne2 coming soon.”

Jay-Z has yet to comment on the potential project and most recently contributed an epic verse on DJ Khaled’s song “God Did.”

As for the lawsuit, TMZ has reached out to Jay-Z for comment, but the rapper-turned-mogul has yet to issue a statement on them matter. 

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