HSBC Downgrades Anheuser-Busch Stock Amidst Fallout from Dylan Mulvaney Partnership Controversy
Investors should neither buy nor sell shares of Anheuser-Busch InBev, according to HSBC’s recent downgrade of the stock to a hold status. The multinational bank’s managing director for the global beverage sector, Carlos Laboy, criticized AB InBev’s handling of its brand culture shift in the U.S., which has resulted in plummeting sales due to the fallout from the Dylan Mulvaney partnership controversy.
ABI’s Leadership Questioned
Laboy’s analysis, published on CNBC via the New York Post, questioned ABI’s leadership in handling the brand culture transformation. He wrote, “At Ambev, we think the answer is ‘yes;’ in the U.S., we think it’s ‘no’.” Laboy also raised concerns about management’s response to the Bud Light crisis and the loss of unprecedented volume and brand relevance. He asked why ABI’s U.S. leadership underestimated the risk of pushback and whether the company is hiring the best people to grow the brands and gauge risk.
Plummeting Sales Across AB InBev’s Brands
The fallout from Mulvaney’s partnership has caused a significant decline in Anheuser-Busch’s sales. According to data from NielsenIQ and Bump Williams Consulting, nationwide retail sales of Bud Light were down 23.4% year-over-year for the week of April 29. Budweiser sales dropped 11.4%, Michelob Ultra was down 4.4%, Natural Light was down 5.2%, and Busch Light was down 1.8%. CEO Bump Williams warned that it’s not just a Bud Light issue but an Anheuser-Busch portfolio problem.
Parent Company’s Commitment to Left-Wing Ideology
Despite the continued freefall of Bud Light’s sales, AB InBev cannot break its commitment to left-wing ideology. The company is a member of The World Federation of Advertisers, which created The Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) to “demonetize…harmful content.” GARM is so powerful that it controls advertising money for platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat. It is also backed by the World Economic Forum as a “flagship project” under their “Platform for Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Sport.”
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