DeSantis is running for the Republican nomination for president in a campaign that has been struggling.
Anheuser-Busch has been the subject of a business and public relations battle since April, when it ran head-first into a much-hyped boycott that was triggered by the company’s small social media partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Those are separate struggles. But now, DeSantis is challenging the beer company directly. And criticism over that decision is gaining steam.
DeSantis’ supporters likely appreciate his attacks on actions he consistently refers to as “woke.”
Others, including one prominent critic, suggest there are a few more important things to think about when considering the motives behind the Florida governor’s recent calls for action.
DeSantis Says He Is Planning to Investigate Anheuser-Busch
DeSantis recently posted to Twitter a note saying he was planning a course of action against the beer maker.
“So I’m calling for an investigation into AB InBev’s actions regarding their Bud Light marketing campaign and falling stock prices,” he wrote. “All options are on the table and woke corporations that put ideology ahead of returns should be on notice.”
We’ve kneecapped ESG in Florida.
So I’m calling for an investigation into AB InBev’s actions regarding their Bud Light marketing campaign and falling stock prices.
All options are on the table and woke corporations that put ideology ahead of returns should be on notice. pic.twitter.com/B3frLY4f30
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) July 21, 2023
In the tweet, he posted a letter to Florida’s State Board of Administration (SBA), in which he asked it to “initiate a review to examine AB InBev holdings.”
“It appears to me that AB InBev may have breached legal duties owed to its shareholders,” the letter continued. “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.”
A Critic Has a Point of Contention
A Washington Post columnist took issue with the governor’s statement.
“DeSantis has launched an investigation into AB InBev and has hinted at further legal action against it. Why?” asked Post writer Catherine Rampell. “DeSantis says Bud Light’s pursuit of ‘radical social ideologies’ turned its best-selling beer into ‘a commercial pariah,’ which in turn hurt Florida’s pension fund, which had invested in AB InBev.”
Rampell questioned what part DeSantis may have participated in to boost the Bud Light boycott in the first place.
“DeSantis conveniently leaves out the role he played in promoting the boycott that reduced the share price and, by extension, his own state’s pension holdings,” Rampell wrote. “He alleges the company ‘may have breached legal duties owed to its shareholders’ and suggests the pension fund (and other shareholders) sue.”
“Legal experts say any such suit would have virtually no chance of success, given serious jurisdictional, procedural and substantive problems,” Rampell continued.
“You know what might be a more convincing way to do this?” Rampell asked. “Not lighting taxpayer and investor money on fire.”
DeSantis’ letter was released to the public via Twitter, but no suit has been known to have been filed at the time of this writing.
Get exclusive access to portfolio managers and their proven investing strategies with Real Money Pro. Get started now.