For decades, Brazilian billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann was seen as a modern-day King Midas, who turned every company he bought into money-making machines. His portfolio includes some of the world’s most recognizable brands, such as Burger King and Budweiser. One in every five beers sold worldwide is produced by AB Inbev—a company of which Mr. Lemann holds a large stock and which is led by one of his protegés. In 2015, he piloted one of the world’s most impressive merger and acquisition deals—uniting Heinz and Kraft Foods under his command for USD 28 billion.
Some years later, however, the mogul had his business savvy questioned and his business model was deemed “outdated.” Even his friend Warren Buffett—one of the world’s most famous investors—threw him under the bus, saying he “was wrong in a couple of ways about Kraft Heinz.” To CNBC, Mr. Buffett admitted: “We overpaid for Kraft.”
Just before this year’s Carnival holiday, Kraft Heinz shares crashed 27 percent when the company reported a USD 15.4 billion impairment that caused a USD 12.6 billion loss, an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission into accounting practices slashed its dividends by 36 percent.