Don’t want to support Bill Gates? Then you’re gonna have to stop drinking Heineken. That’s because he just purchased a gargantuan stake in it, according to Reuters. That outlet reported that:
Bill Gates has bought 3.76% stake in Dutch drinks giant Heineken Holding NV (HEIO.AS), although the billionaire founder of Microsoft has previously said he was “not a big beer drinker.”
The filing by the Netherlands’ Financial Markets Authority (AFM) said the shares were purchased on Feb. 17. Heineken Holding owns a controlling stake in brewer Heineken NV (HEIN.AS).
Gates purchased the shares from Mexico’s FEMSA, which is selling out of the brewing company.
A separate filing also dated Feb. 17 showed FEMSA sold all 18 million shares it held in Heineken Holding. Gates purchased 10.8 million shares, worth 883 million euros ($939.87 million) at current market prices, triggering a disclosure requirement under Dutch stock market rules.
The Daily Caller, adding a few more details on the purchase, reported that “Gates’ shares of Heineken were split between his personal wealth and philanthropic arm, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the filing says. His foundation, launched by Gates and ex-wife Melinda, has also bought ownership stakes in Dutch grocer Picnic BV and fertilizer producer OCI NV.“
The purchase comes despite Gates not being much of a beer drinker. During a 2018 “Ask Me Anything” event on Reddit, he said that he is “not a big beer drinker.” He then added that “When I end up at something like a baseball game I drink light beer to get with the vibe of all the other beer drinkers. Sorry to disappoint real beer drinkers.“
Outside of his recent beer brewing investment, Gates’ most infamous investments surround his buying up of US farmland. Asked about that during another Reddit AMA, he said “I own less than 1/4000 of the farmland in the US. I have invested in these farms to make them more productive and create more jobs.” He added that he thinks tax rates should go up, saying “In terms of the very rich I think they should pay a lot more in taxes and they should give away their wealth over time.”
Despite his claims that his farmland buying spree isn’t a big deal, Gates was the biggest holder of farmland in the United States as of 2021, as GeekWire reported at the time, saying:
A new report on the largest holders of private farmland in the United States reveals that Bill and Melinda Gates are atop the list, with the billionaire Seattle couple amassing 242,000 acres of land.
According to The Land Report, the Microsoft co-founder owns farmland across 18 states, with the largest holdings being in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres) and Nebraska (20,588 acres). Gates also owns a stake in more than 24,800 acres of transitional land outside of Phoenix.
A Tri-City Herald report on the 2018 purchase of 14,500 acres of farmland in Benton County, Wash. — for a staggering $171 million — is what set The Land Report and editor Eric O’Keefe digging further into Gates’ holdings.
Research indicated that the land across the U.S. is held by Cascade Investment LLC, Gates’ private investment vehicle. Gates also backs online used-car seller Vroom through Cascade as well as the Canadian National Railway Company.
As of late 2022, however, Gates was no longer the top farmland owner. That title went to another billionaire, John Malone, the former CEO of Tele-Communications Inc.
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