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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis instructed the State Board of Administration (SBA) to launch a inquiry of the global equity assets that it holds with Anheuser-Busch InBev following the fallout the company has faced after one of its top brands, Bud Light, engaged in paid marketing engagement with a controversial transgender influencer.
DeSantis sent a letter to SBA Interim Executive Director Lamar Taylor highlighting the nearly 30 percent loss in sales the company saw during the month of June. The SBA is an asset management organization responsible for investing Florida’s state and local government assets.
“As sales of AB InBev products within the U.S. continue to precipitously decline, reports are now emerging that large American mainstays like Costco will be pulling Bud Light from the shelves,” the 44-year-old Republican presidential candidate wrote. “Clearly, the Board’s mismanagement — as well as its failure to remediate the problem and repair its relationship with millions of disaffected American consumers — has led to this impasse and will continue to financially harm the SBA and other shareholders.”
DeSantis said it was critical that the SBA remain committed to its legal obligations to “prudently manage the funds of Florida’s hardworking law enforcement officers, teachers, firefighters, and first responders in a manner that focuses on growing returns, not subsidizing an ideological agenda through woke virtue signaling.”
“I therefore request that you immediately initiate a review to examine how AB InBev’s conduct has impacted and continues to impact the value of SBA’s AB InBev holdings,” the governor said. “It appears to me that AB InBev may have breached legal duties owed to its shareholders, and that a shareholder action may be both appropriate and necessary. To protect SBA and the retirees of Florida from losses attributable to AB InBev’s disregard of those duties, all options are on the table.”
DeSantis joined Fox News host Jesse Watters on Thursday evening to make the announcement.
The governor said that the pension had $50 million invested in InBev stock and that the decline in value had hurt Florida’s teachers and other pensioners.
“We believe that when you take your eye off the ball like that, you’re not following your fiduciary duty to do the best you can for your shareholders,” he said. “So we’re going to be launching an inquiry about Bud Light and InBev. And it could be something that leads to a derivative lawsuit filed on behalf of the shareholders of the Florida pension fund. Because at the end of the day, there’s gotta be penalties for when you put business aside to focus on your social agenda at the expense of hard working people.”
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) July 21, 2023