* Diageo declines to comment on Jose Cuervo bid report
* Diageo already has Jose Cuervo distribution rights
* Backdrop of intensifying consolidation in drinks sector
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LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - The world’s biggest spirits maker Diageo (DGE.L) is reported to be considering a $2 billion bid for tequila brand Jose Cuervo, as consolidation within the global drinks sector intensifies.
The Sunday Times said in an unsourced report that the Beckmann family was in talks to appoint Barclays (BARC.L) to explore a possible sale of all or part of the Jose Cuervo brand.
London-based Diageo, whose brands include Johnnie Walker whisky, Smirnoff vodka and which already has distribution rights for Jose Cuervo, declined to comment on the report.
The world’s drinks sector has already seen a spate of deals over the last year.
Last month Diageo agreed to buy Turkish raki spirits maker Mey Icki for 1.3 billion pounds ($2.1 billion), while French drinks group Remy Cointreau (RCOP.PA) entered talks to sell its loss-making champagne business. [ID:nLDE71K0A4] [ID:nLDE71R2AE]
There has also been speculation of bidders for the spirits arm of American consumer goods group Fortune Brands FO.N, and rumours Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR) may target SABMiller SAB.L SABJ.J. [ID:nLDE72G1LZ] [ID:nN08263947]
Diageo shares closed up 0.4 percent at 1,143 pence on Friday, giving the group a market capitalisation of around 29 billion pounds. ($1=.6158 Pound) (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Alexander Smith)