Despite criticism of Anheuser-Busch’s partnership with transgender celebrity Dylan Mulvaney, Bill Gates invested roughly $100 million in the firm.
According to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission from the second quarter of 2023, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, established by Microsoft’s founders, acquired 1.7 million shares in the firm for around $96.5 million.
The company’s shares dropped drastically in April when it was made public that Bud Light had formed a partnership with Mulvaney. Mulvaney announced the collaboration on social media, sharing a photo of a Bud Light can bearing the influencer’s likeness. Mulvaney also shared a clip of himself in the tub with a Bud Light.
Due to the conservative boycott, Bud Light was dethroned as America’s best-selling beer in June. A month later, Anheuser-Busch laid off hundreds of workers, and a distributor for Bud Light said the brand’s sales would never recover.
Not only have conservatives boycotted Bud Light, but LGBT rights advocates also took issue with Bud Light for not coming out more strongly in defense of its choice.
U.S. sales for Anheuser-Busch InBev dropped 10.5% in the second quarter due to the boycott, while the company’s EBIDTA (earnings before interest, taxes, and depreciation) dropped 28.2%. As a result of the consequences, the firm has had to lay off hundreds of employees.
Anheuser-Busch has been trying to win back consumers after the backlash from the Dylan Mulvaney campaign by focusing on sports, country music, and other stereotypically American cultural touchstones.
Gates is either virtue signaling or earnestly betting on a Bud Light comeback.
When precisely the shares will be bought is unknown. After AB InBev beat Q2 forecasts, on August 14, the company submitted its 13F.
On the Euronext market, you may find Anheuser-Busch’s major listing under the ticker symbol ABI. On the New York Stock Exchange, its American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) trade under the symbol BUD.
The Trust’s investments are not managed by Bill Gates but rather by Cascade Asset Management. The company stated it was making a value play by buying the shares.