AriZona Iced Tea Co-Founders Settle Longstanding Dispute

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 2.34.46 PMAriZona Beverage co-founders Domenick Vultaggio and John Ferolito have reached a settlement in what has been an eight-year long dispute over the value of the company they founded together in 1992.

In October, a New York state judge ordered Beverage Marketing USA Inc, the parent company of AriZona, to pay $1 billion to Ferolito and a trust benefiting his son in exchange for his share of the company. The judge came to the ruling based on a 2010 valuation of the company which pegged its worth at $2 billion.

Ferolito has argued the company’s true worth is $3.2 billion while Vultaggio puts it at $426 million. The October ruling effectively ended six years of contentious litigation between the friends turned foes, who started selling beer together in their hometown of Brooklyn in the early 1970s. Ferolito began looking to sell his stake in the company as early as 2005 but was blocked from doing so by Vultaggio, who remained adamant about maintaining full control of AriZona.

The two parties were set to meet in court Tuesday to determine the terms of the buyout, but the hearing was called off when the two parties announced they had reached a settlement independently. Terms of the buyout were not revealed due to confidentiality agreement, but attorneys for both parties told Reuters their clients were satisfied with the outcome.

“Settlements are always by definition compromises, and compromises are always bittersweet,” said Ferlito’s lawyer Nicholas Gravante. “We believe, however, that the settlement preliminarily approved by the court today is in all parties’ best interest.”

Vultaggio’s attorney Louis Soloman told Reuters his client was “thrilled with the settlement.”