pursuits

Lemann Fortune Jumps $1.3 Billion on Tim Hortons Purchase

Burger King Worldwide Inc.’s acquisition of Tim Hortons Inc. helped Brazil’s wealthiest man add another $1.3 billion to his fortune this month.

The net worth of Jorge Paulo Lemann, who owns shares in Burger King and Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, rose to $24.8 billion in August, passing Hong Kong real estate magnate Lee Shau Kee, Nigerian billionaire Alhaji Aliko Dangote and investor Carl Icahn on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Burger King surged 20 percent on Aug. 25 following reports that the second-largest U.S. burger chain was in talks to buy the Canadian coffee-shop chain. The companies announced the C$12.5 billion ($11.5 billion) deal, which was backed in part by billionaire Warren Buffett, the next day.

“Burger King’s acquisition means more top line,” Nicole Miller Regan, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos., said in a phone interview from Minneapolis. “Burger King could benefit from Horton’s brands in terms of menu and marketing.”

Lemann’s wealth also was bolstered by a jump in Anheuser-Busch. The world’s biggest brewer has climbed 9 percent this year amid World Cup beer sales and the Brazilian government’s decision to postpone plans for a cold-beverage tax.

A spokesman for Lemann declined to comment.

In July, Anheuser-Busch reported growth in second-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as World Cup-related sales in Brazil offset declining sales in the U.S. The gains also have boosted the fortunes of Lemann’s Brazilian partners Marcelo Telles and Carlos Sicupira. The combined net worth of “three musketeers,” as they’re sometimes called, reached a record $46.5 billion, overtaking Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison.

Beverage Tax

The daily Estado de S.Paulo reported Aug. 18 that the Brazilian government has decided to postpone plans to increase taxes on cold beverages to avoid stoking inflationary pressure.

Finance Minister Guido Mantega told reporters Aug. 19 that the government hasn’t given up on its plans to raise the tax. President Dilma Rousseff, who is running for re-election in an October vote, is seeking to boost tax revenues to shore up fiscal accounts after Standard & Poor’s this year handed Brazil its first sovereign-credit downgrade in a decade.

“We continue to work very closely with the government,” Ambev’s Chief Executive Officer, Joao Castro Neves, said in comments about the postponed tax in a teleconference July 31. “That’s why we’ve been seeing those postponements. The decree was fully reverted, which of course is good news. Dialogue is working. Whatever comes should be gradual.”

Ambev, Anheuser-Busch’s Brazilian subsidiary, was the second-biggest donor to Rousseff’s campaign in the first month of the race this year, with a contribution of 4 million reais from its CRBS unit, according to Brazil’s electoral tribunal.

“The postponement of the tax has as much to do with inflation as it does the political environment,” Pedro Galdi, chief strategist at Slw Corretora de Valores e Cambio, said in a phone interview from Sao Paulo. “It’s an election year, so a lot of decisions have to be made with care, or put off.”

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