NETHERLANDS – Heineken, the world’s second-largest brewer by consolidated volume, has purchased shares worth €333 million (US$142.1m) from the Mexican Coca-Cola bottler, Fomento Economico Mexicano SAB (FEMSA).

The purchase comes after FEMSA launched a €3.7 billion (US$3.97bn) stock and equity-linked sale for part of its holdings in the Dutch group.

The buyback is part of an accelerated book build offering by FEMSA of €1.9 billion (US$2.04bn) in shares in Heineken, priced at €91 (US$97.5) per share, and €1.3 billion in shares in Heineken Holding, at €75 apiece.

The beer giant initially said its strong balance sheet allowed it to carry out the buyback in a statement to newsrooms.

Dolf van den Brink, CEO and chairman of Heineken’s executive board said: “Our strong balance sheet allows us to take advantage of this opportunity. This does not change our capital allocation principles, which prioritize investment in the organic growth and expansion of our business.”

FEMSA announced its plans of divesting the full shareholding in HEINEKEN and Heineken Holding N.V. to focus on core business verticals that have the highest strategic relevance, growth potential, and financial and competitive strength.

The Mexican bottler also placed a sale of exchangeable bonds for an amount of €500 million, exchangeable into Heineken Holding shares.

The bonds will have a maturity of three years and were priced at an annual coupon of 2.625% and a conversion premium of 27.5%, with the initial exchange price set at €95.625. FEMSA’s overall economic interest in the Heineken Group will decrease from 14.76% to 8.13%.

Heineken noted that upon completion of the purchase, FEMSA will no longer hold any shares in Heineken and Heineken Holding other than the Heineken Holding shares underlying the exchangeable bond.

As Heineken continues its shares buyback, Billionaire entrepreneur and Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates, recently purchased a 3.7% stake (10.8 million shares) worth about US$939.87 million in the brewer group, but from the Mexican Coca-Cola bottler.

“Of the 10.83 million shares, Bill Gates bought 6.65 million as a private individual and another 4.18 million through the non-profit Bill & Melinda Gates Investment Trust, a foundation owned by the American business magnate and his ex-wife,” Inside Beer reported.

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