Microsoft founder Bill Gates has taken a stake in Heineken Holding. Gates will own 3.8 percent of the shares for an amount of 880 million euros. That share rose by more than one and a half percent on the stock exchange due to the purchase.
In all likelihood, Gates will buy part of the shares of the Mexican beverage group Femsa, which had previously indicated that it wanted to scale down its interest in Heineken (more than 12 percent, ed.). Previously, Heineken seemed to want to buy back all shares, but now Gates is taking over the shares. ‘That is of course fantastic to have in your shareholding’, says asset manager Cees Smit of Today’s Group.
Smit says that Gates was interested in Heineken Holding positively. ‘That shows that there is still enough money in the world and that there are still enough people interested in Heineken,’ says Smit. ‘But in the end we have to realize that it is only a small part of Femsa’s total. In the end, only 3.8 percent ended up with Gates.’ According to Smit, a part has also been bought back by Heineken, and not everything has been sold yet.
Smit also emphasizes that the purchase of Gates also relieves the financial pressure on Heineken. If Gates had not stepped in, Heineken’s debt amount would have grown considerably. ‘They didn’t have that much money,’ he continues. ‘Despite one of the Heineken members being number 1 in the Quote500, she only has 12 point as many billion, and not everything can be bought with that. In that sense, the help of other major investors is called for, and if you immediately enlist the third richest man on earth for that, you can count yourself lucky.’
But Heineken will not notice much of Gates’ shareholding, Smit thinks. In any case, less than Femsa, who also had someone on the board. Smit: ‘Femsa was also involved in the day-to-day business, but I don’t think Bill or his ex-wife are looking for a job. I think he will be a silent shareholder, who might bring something nice to the table.’