Jay-Z Sues Bacardi for Disclosure of Financial Records as Cognac Deal Sours

Jay-Z Cognac
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Jay-Z Cognac
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Photo Credit: Erin McCormack / CC by 2.0

Jay-Z sues Bacardi for full transparency of financial records, inventory, and marketing data as their cognac deal sours.

Shawn Carter, better known as rapper Jay-Z, is suing wine and spirits giant Bacardi Ltd., his partner in the cognac brand D’USSÉ, over concerns about financial transparency. In documents filed with Delaware Chancery Court, Carter seeks company books and records of their joint venture, D’USSÉ Cognac.

In the complaint, Jay-Z’s company, SC Liquor, demands total financial clarity from Bacardi regarding D’USSÉ, in which the two entities are 50/50 partners. The rapper and the liquor giant have co-owned the cognac brand since 2011, but the lawsuit shows that the partnership hasn’t been going well.

Carter says he needs all books and records, the location of all warehouses storing the product, barrels, bottles, and accessories, including all information regarding physical inventory and accompanying process. While it isn’t clear what prompted Jay-Z to demand this information, the lawsuit indicates noticeable levels of distrust between partners. 

SC Liquor said in the documents that it needed the information to “monitor the conduct of the company’s business to protect SC’s rights as a member” and to “assess the value of the company and of SC’s membership interest.”

The documents sent on behalf of SC Liquor LLC are signed by Desiree Perez, CEO of Roc Nation, the entertainment agency Carter founded in 2008. In a letter signed by Perez on December 29, 2021, SC Liquor demanded 30 categories of information about D’USSÉ Cognac from the “time of the company’s formation to the present,” including all financial and inventory data, but also marketing plans, board minutes, and analyses of competitors.

Letters that were exchanged back and forth between the two entities and the court condensed the initial 30 demands into 12 separate categories. SC Liquor has also sought to expedite the Chancery Court proceedings.

SC Liquor LLC is represented in the lawsuit by Reed Brodsky, Rahim Moloo, Gabriel Herrmann, Amer S. Ahmed, Michael L. Nadler of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and Elena C. Norman and Richard J. Thomas of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP.