Amid the recent controversy surrounding transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney and the resultant slump in AB InBev's share price (inside.beer, 14.4.2023), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust has made a strategic move by purchasing 1.7 million shares worth over USD 96 million.
During the quarter ending on June 30, AB InBev faced a challenging period, reporting a 10.5% decline in US revenues. In June, it became known that the beer brand Modelo Especial, distributed in the USA by Constellation Brands, had dethroned AB InBev's flagship brand Bud Light from the top position of the best-selling beer brands in the USA for the first time in 22 years (inside.beer, 9.6.2023).
However, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust displayed confidence in the company's potential by making this significant investment. This move, as indicated by an August 14 regulatory filing, was made around the time AB InBev reported its second quarter earnings. (inside.beer, 3.8.2023)
The Foundation Trust operates independently from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and was established to oversee the management of the charity's endowment funds. While the ex-couple serves as the trustees of the organization, the management of its assets is entrusted to Cascade Management Company.
Despite the trust's optimistic bet, the investment has yet to yield positive results, with AB InBev's stock declining nearly 2% since the foundation's purchase and showing a 6% drop in value for the year, as reported by CNN. However, it's worth noting that while Bud Light faces challenges, other AB InBev brands like Corona and Stella Artois continue to perform well. Moreover, the company has a diverse portfolio of successful brands beyond the US market.
Interestingly, this investment in the beer industry is not Bill Gates' only foray into the world of brewing this year. In February, the Microsoft billionaire invested EUR 850 million in a 3.76% stake in Heineken, despite admitting that he is "not a big beer drinker." (inside.beer, 22.2.2023)