Bud Light recently demonstrated the adage of “go woke, go broke” when the beer was recently dethroned as the best-selling beer in America by Modelo Especial. Bud Light was stripped of the title, which it held for nearly two decades. A former Anheuser-Busch executive recently outlined how the executives at Bud Light can be held accountable for the disastrous decisions that have led to these financial consequences.
Anson Frericks was a high-ranking executive at Anheuser-Busch, working for the company for nearly eleven years. Frericks most recently co-founded Strive Asset Management, which seeks to fight wokeness in corporate America through shareholder activism. The businessman recently wrote an opinion piece for Fox News where he explained how shareholders should hold Bud Light accountable.
Frericks first outlines the backlash that has unfolded against Bud Light, which has manifested in declining sales since the beginning of April. Furthermore, the Dylan Mulvaney stunt cost Anheuser-Busch billions in market value and may have permanently damaged the brand image of Bud Light. Frericks slammed the initial response to the controversy as a “nothing to see here” strategy that the company seemingly tried to ignore it.
However, as the former AB InBev executive points out, Anheuser-Busch won’t be able to ignore this massive problem much longer as second-quarter earnings calls are coming up. Here angry investors will inevitably force the company to answer for the massive destruction of shareholder value that has ensued over the past several months.
Frericks notes that Bud Light’s financial projections were stellar before the Dylan Mulvaney disaster. Last year, the brewing company saw strong earnings growth, AB InBev’s stock outperformed the S&P 500, and Wall Street was expecting a strong financial trajectory for Bud Light going into 2023. The first quarter of 2023 corroborated these predictions, where the beer saw a strong increase in year-over-year earnings with a solid macroeconomic backdrop.
However, all it took was putting Dylan Mulvaney’s face on a can of Bud Light to derail this success completely. During Anheuser-Busch’s first-quarter earnings call, CEO Michel Doukeris downplayed the boycott against Bud Light, stating it was too early to get an accurate assessment of the full impact. Now with weeks of sales data, we can see the impact is massive.
Executives at Anheuser-Busch were likely hoping the controversy would blow over quickly as online backlash typically does. However, sales data indicates that instead of dying down, the boycott seems to grow stronger weekly. The American Tribune reported on the most recent sales data for Bud Light which shows the worst week of sales since the boycott started.
For the week ending June 10, Bud Light sales fell by almost 27 percent compared to the same time last year. This jumped from a 24.4 percent decline the prior week. As Anheuser-Busch’s second-quarter earnings call approaches, investors will have the opportunity to dig into the company’s management and figure out what they are doing to mitigate the crisis. Unlike consumers who can only voice themselves through declining sales, analysts and shareholders can seek direct accountability live on earnings calls.
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