Bud Light has been dethroned as the king of beers in the United States following a months-long boycott. The once-beloved beer brand began being boycotted in April after Bud Light’s advertising campaign with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney.
Anheuser-Busch faces another potential public relations pitfall with billionaire Bill Gates investing millions into the beer behemoth.
Last quarter, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust bought 1.7 million shares of Anheuser-Busch InBev – valued at nearly $95 million, according to an SEC filing.
MarketWatch reported, “The exact timing of the purchase was unclear. But Cascade Asset Management Co., the firm that oversees the investment decisions for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, said the Microsoft Corp. co-founder didn’t participate in the trust’s decision, and that it was attracted to the price.”
A spokesperson for Cascade said the asset management company “sees value” in Anheuser-Busch InBev.
The stock is down about 6% year to date.
Fox Business reported, “Sales took a clear hit. Anheuser-Busch InBev reported a steep drop in profits as a result of the boycott, with U.S. revenue dropping 10.5% in the second quarter, while earnings before taxes, interest and depreciation fell 28.2%. The company has laid off hundreds of workers amid the fallout.”
However, a former Anheuser-Busch executive said the major investment is a “mistake.”
“Bill Gates is definitely making a mistake,” former Anheuser-Busch exec Anson Frerks told “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” on Wednesday. “Earlier this year, he already made a $900 million mistake when he invested into one of Anheuser-Busch’s largest rivals, Heineken. He did that earlier this year. And since that investment, Heineken’s down about 10%, whereas the broader markets are up 10%.”
“So if I was looking for advice on investing in software companies, tech companies, I might go to Bill Gates. But if you’re looking at the beer industry, he doesn’t have a great track record of investing in winners at this point,” Freks added.
In February, Gates acquired a 3.76% stake in Dutch beer giant Heineken, said to be worth $902 million at the time.
During an “Ask Me Anything” thread on Reddit in 2018, Gates wrote, “I am not a big beer drinker,” but said he’ll “drink light beer to get with the vibe of all the other beer drinkers” during a baseball game.
Other major investments by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation include Microsoft, Walmart, and agricultural manufacturer Deere & Co.
According to Forbes, Gates is the seventh-richest person in the world with a net worth of more than $111 billion.
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