3G Capital's Meal Now Served with Ketchup and Fries
Brazilian-backed investment fund 3G Capital, which joined Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway in the $28 billion deal to take over ketchup-maker Heinz, started out with beer.
Now it has a full course fast food meal in hand: beer, burgers, fries and ketchup.
The company was started by Brazilian tycoon Jorge Paulo Lemann, 73, who built his wealth, put at $12 billion by Forbes -- in the brewing industry.
With partners Carlos Sicupira and Marcel Telles, Lemann merged Brazilian beermaker Ambev with Belgium's Interbrew, establishing the world's largest brewer InBev.
The company only became larger with the takeover of the U.S. maker of Budweiser, Anheuser-Busch, in 2008. The tieup created AB-InBev -- which the three together control with a combined 82 percent stake.
As 3G Capital, meanwhile, they made their mark in the United States in September 2010 with the $4 billion takeover of struggling Burger King.
With Thursday's joint bid for Heinz, they are acquiring the maker of the country's most popular burger condiment.
And they will also get fries with that: Heinz owns Ore-Ida, a giant maker of frozen potatoes and french fries.
Heinz chief executive William Johnson recalled his first meeting with 3G.
"Actually, I thought they were coming to have dinner with me because they own Burger King and they were a customer and they were unhappy. It turns out, they were a happy customer," he said.
Even so, 3G and its principals have set their sights on even broader horizons. AB-InBev is also pursuing the takeover of Mexican brewer Modelo, which makes Corona.
The move has been challenged by U.S. antitrust authorities, who say AB-InBev is already over-powerful in the market.
Whether they get Modelo or not, the 3G team still have a round meal in their hands -- if not exactly a health foodie's dream.