Bill Gates appears to think the owner of Bud Light is poised for a comeback, having recently paid $95 million to buy 1.7 million shares of Anheuser-Busch, according to a financial data firm TipRanks.
As TipRanks found out, the 67-year-old billionaire bought the shares through his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust in the second quarter of this year.
The Seattle-based charitable foundation reportedly has assets worth $69 billion.
Anheuser-Busch is still reeling five months after the St. Louis, Missouri-based brewery hired transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney to promote Bud Light on its social media — a marketing campaign that ended in disaster and that displaced beer from 1st place.
Anheuser-Busch stock is down nearly 9% over the past six months, and over the past five days it’s down more than 3% to $56.08 — a result of a nationwide boycott of Bud Light that didn’t include any showed signs of slowing down.
Modelo Especial, the country’s new beer king, continues to outperform Bud Light. Last week, the company extended its year-to-date sales lead over Bud Light, accounting for 8.4% of in-store beer sales through Aug. 19, while Bud Light had an 8.2% share, Bump Williams Consulting reported and NielsonIQ earlier this week.
“More consumers are buying Modelo more frequently and in larger quantities before the summer ends,” Williams, the head of the consultancy, told The Post on Monday.
However, Gates believes Modelo won’t hold the top spot for long.
It’s not the first time the Microsoft founder has invested his money in beer brands, although he only wrote in 2018 Question and Answer Session on Reddit that he is “not a big beer drinker”.
In February, Gates acquired a 3.76% stake in Heineken Holding NV, acquiring 10.8 million shares of the Dutch beverage giant, valued at $939.87 million at the time of purchase.
Gates bought the shares from Mexico’s FEMSA, whose brewery was sold to Heineken in 2010.
Representatives from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation did not immediately respond to the Post’s request for comment.
The Post also reached out to Anheuser-Busch for comment.
Meanwhile, Bud Light is struggling to win back its core audience and further distances itself from its ill-fated association with Mulvaney by releasing a new ad aimed at its core audience of football fans.
The commercial from long-time National Football League sponsor shows fans preparing for the upcoming season by preparing meals, drinking Bud Light, wearing replica jerseys in bars and waiting close together for events – all played to the tune of Etta James’ “A Sunday Kind of Love”. ”
The minute-long promo ends with the tagline, “Football, Bud Light and Sunday just go together.”
However, Bud Light’s attempt to win back those who boycotted the brand drew some derisive comments on social media.
The aftershocks of the Mulvaney controversy also impacted the staff of Captiv8, the California-based marketing firm behind the Bud Light-Mulvaney partnership.
Captiv8 laid off more than a dozen employees just days after top executives boasted a lavish trip to an awards ceremony on the French Riviera, The Post reported last week.
Additionally, other beer brands under the Anheuser-Busch umbrella suffered from Mulvaney’s promotion and lost market share.
Budweiser’s sales fell 10.3% in the week ended August 19, while Michelob Ultra – another Anheuser-Busch brand – saw some improvement with sales up 0.4% over the week-long period.
Other brands not affiliated with Anheuser-Busch are stealing market share. According to data from Bump Williams Consulting and NielsonIQ, Miller Lite saw sales grow 18.5% in the week ended Aug. 19, while Coors Light saw 21.6% growth and Yuengling Lager saw a 19.7% increase in sales week ended August 19.
Earlier this month, Anheuser-Busch InBev — the brewery’s Belgium-based parent company — reported a 10.5% revenue decline and nearly 30% profit decline in the second quarter.