The influential billionaire and Microsoft founder appears to see an opportunity in the decline of Bud Light.
- A regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows that The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust is buying Bud Light stocks amid the dip.
- The Trust purchased 1.7 million shares of Anheuser-Busch InBev stock, worth $96.6 million at the time of purchase.
- The transaction has proved a net loss for the Trust so far, with the stock having decreased 2% in value since it was purchased last quarter.
- The Foundation similarly purchased nearly $1 billion in Heineken Holding shares earlier this year.
Why It’s Important
On April 1, transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney released a cross-promotional Instagram video with Bud Light. Subsequently, an interview with Bud Light Vice President of Marketing Alissa Heinerscheid revealed that she was attempting to shift the brand away from its “fratboy” image toward a new audience of young progressive beer drinkers. Within two weeks, Bud Light’s sales precipitously dropped and have continued to do so.
The effect on sales has continually dragged on for five months. While there is some early speculation that the boycott is diminishing, Bud Light’s sales have not yet recovered, with the company losing 30% of sales. The company was forced to lay off hundreds of employees in July as a result of the boycott. The company still maintains an 80% favorable view, according to a survey of 170,000 U.S. consumers.
The purchase of stock by Bill Gates’ foundation would suggest that he sees an opportunity in the brand—that Bud Light will expectedly reemerge in the future as the leading popular beer brand once again—and wanted to jump on stock while it was at a historically low valuation.
As we previously reported, the embattled and boycotted beer brand is currently aiming to draw positive attention with a generous giveaway of NFL merchandise and subscriptions.