3G Capital, the Brazilian-US investment group, has reduced its stake in Kraft Heinz as the food company grapples with multibillion-dollar writedowns and falling sales.
Securities filings show that 3G, which created the food business in a 2015 merger of Kraft and Heinz that was backed by Warren Buffett, sold $713m worth of stock this week.
The sale of 3G’s shares, at $28.44 apiece, reduced its stake from about 22 per cent to 20 per cent. At the same time, individual 3G partners bought about $200m of stock. They were led by 3G Capital founding partner Jorge Paulo Lemann, who purchased about $100m of shares at $28.60.
Mr Lemann said in a statement: “I am increasing my investment in Kraft Heinz because I believe in its potential for a turnaround, and plan to hold this investment for the long run.”
The transactions pushed shares in Kraft Heinz down nearly 4 per cent to $28.50 in early trading on Tuesday. The stock has lost more than a third of its value this year, one of the hardest hit in the consumer staples sector as a result of changing shopper tastes.
3G Capital declined to comment. The shares were being sold by investors in a 3G investment fund in an “annual liquidity window”, which means they are permitted to sell down their stakes only at particular times, said Bryan Spillane, analyst at Bank of America. The investors had been invested for about seven years, he added.
The identity of the selling investors was not disclosed. A host of wealthy luminaries, including tennis champion Roger Federer and supermodel Gisele Bündchen, is known to have invested in 3G.
The share dealings come at a time of concern on Wall Street about the prospects for Kraft Heinz as consumers shun its brands. The Chicago-based company, whose products include Heinz Ketchup, HP Sauce and Kraft Macaroni and cheese, took another $1.2bn accounting charge in August after a $15bn writedown earlier in the year.
Kraft Heinz has been forced to slash its dividend and also restate several quarters of earnings after an internal investigation uncovered errors in the way it had accounted for supplier contracts. The US Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating.
Bernardo Hees stood aside as chief executive this year and was replaced by Miguel Patricio.
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