Bill Gates buys 3.8% stake of Heineken beer group
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has taken a minority stake in brewery group Heineken. According to calculations by the Bloomberg press agency, the well-known billionaire has purchased approximately 850 million euros of shares in Heineken Holding, the Dutch beer group's holding company. This means that his stake accounts for 3.8 percent of the shares.
Gates personally bought smaller sets of 6.7 million shares and another 4.2 million through the philanthropic organization, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. These deals took place last week on the same day that Heineken's major Mexican shareholder, Femsa, sold billions of euros worth of shares.
Femsa became a major shareholder of Heineken in 2010 when the Dutch group took over the Mexican company's beer branch. Femsa also operates approximately 20,000 stores, more than 3,600 pharmacies, and bottler Coca-Cola Femsa. The company has recently decided to focus exclusively on its digital, retail and bottling activities and to cash in on the Heineken stake.
Heineken itself took the opportunity to buy back 1 billion euros worth of its own shares. Other investors, including Gates, also bought shares. As a result, Femsa's participation will temporarily decrease from almost 15 percent to just over 8 percent. Femsa has indicated that it will sell the entire interest in a period of two to three years.
Heineken is not the only Dutch company in which Gates has invested money. According to Bloomberg, the wealthy businessman has also invested in online supermarket Picnic, and has an interest of approximately 1.3 percent in fertilizer producer OCI, which is listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world. The foundation was put together in 2000, has nearly 1,800 employees and has spent nearly $80 billion on numerous projects and initiatives.
Reporting by ANP