The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust heavily expanded its holdings in Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) during the second quarter thanks to an ongoing gift from Warren Buffett. The Trust also added Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) to its portfolio, buying more than $96 million in shares of the distressed beer maker grappling with the impact of the recent Bud Light boycotts.
Gates Foundation Trust Guzzles Bud Light Stock
The Gates Foundation Trust purchased about 1.7 million shares of AB InBev stock during the quarter. The buys were worth $96.59 million, according to the Trust’s latest 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It was the only new addition to the portfolio during the quarter.
The timing of the stock purchases is unclear. The 13F was filed on Aug. 14, shortly after AB InBev topped Q2 estimates.
Anheuser-Busch’s primary listing is on the Euronext exchange under the ticker ABI. In the U.S., it trades in American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) under the ticker BUD on the New York Stock Exchange.
Bill Gates doesn’t oversee the Trust’s investments, that job is handled by Cascade Asset Management. The firm said it moved into the stock as a valuation play.
“As Chief Investment Officer of Cascade Asset Management Company, Michael Larson oversees the investment decisions for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust,” a spokesperson for Cascade told MarketWatch. “Bill Gates did not purchases shares of Anheuser-Busch InBev nor did he participate in the investment decision of the Trust. Cascade, which manages the assets of the Trust, sees value in BUD at recent prices.”
The brewer saw Bud Light sales tumble as conservative boycotts erupted in the months following its April 1 advertisement with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Deutsche Bank wrote in a June research note that Bud Light sales may never fully recover.
The Gates Foundation Trust saw its Berkshire Hathaway Class B holdings increase by $2.49 billion during the quarter. Warren Buffett gifted nearly 10.5 million shares on June 21. The Trust held a total of 25,142,853 BRKB shares worth $8.57 billion as of Q2. The Gates Foundation Trust held around 19.68 million shares worth $6.08 billion at the end of Q1, according to the prior 13F.
Buffett has been a regular donor to the Gates Foundation for the past 17 years, with his annual payments totaling $39.3 billion following the latest pledge. Buffett first pledged 10 million shares of BRKB stock to the Gates Foundation Trust in June 2006, which was valued around $36.1 billion at the time, AP reported.
In July, the Gates Foundation Trust disclosed it purchased 784,830 shares in Mexico Fund (MXF), a non-diversified investment management company that focuses on securities listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange.
AB InBev Stock
BUD stock ticked higher Thursday. Impact from the Bud Light boycotts sent shares down 21% from their 2023 high of 67.09 at the end of March to a low of 52.93 on May 31. BUD stock has recovered slightly from its lows, but is still down nearly 6.5% for the year.
Berkshire Hathaway rose slightly Thursday after dipping in early trade. Shares are extended from cup-with-handle buy zone following a May 19 breakout. BRKB stock rallied 17% so far this year.
Mexico Fund shares eased Thursday. MXF stock is trading in a flat base with a 18.03 buy point. Shares fell below their 50-day moving average and 21-day lines late last week. MXF stock is up about 14% in 2023.
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