U.S. Markets open in 2 hrs 6 mins

Crop Giant Bunge Joins Investors Selling Beyond Meat Stock

Isis Almeida, Tatiana Darie and Deena Shanker
1 / 2

Crop Giant Bunge Joins Investors Selling Beyond Meat Stock

(Bloomberg) -- Add one of the world’s top agricultural commodity traders to the list of investors selling Beyond Meat Inc. shares.

Bunge Ltd., the ‘B’ in the storied ABCD quartet of crop giants that have dominated markets for more than a century, said it “significantly decreased” its position in the faux-meat maker since insider-selling restrictions ended this week. General Mills Inc. also said it sold its holdings as a wave of selling sent Beyond Meat shares plunging 22% on Tuesday.

“Since the lockup ended, Bunge has significantly decreased its position and will update the status of its investment when it reports its fourth quarter results,” Bunge said in an emailed response to Bloomberg questions following the release of earnings Wednesday.

Beyond Meat’s sell-off followed a frenzied rally that drove the stock up as much as 840% back in July, helping White Plains, New York-based Bunge post a $125 million windfall in the second quarter. In the the three months ended Sept. 30, Beyond Meat shares retreated and Bunge booked a $10 million loss on its holding.

As many as 46 million Beyond Meat shares became eligible for sale Tuesday, prompting a sell-off that was also fueled by concerns about new competitors. At least 1.5 million shares, traded in blocks of 25,000 shares or more, crossed on Tuesday after the restrictions on sales ended, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The alternative-meat maker tried to reassure investors about the company’s long-term prospects in an earnings call Tuesday, while acknowledging the lockup expiry may cause some short-term volatility. Chief Executive Officer Ethan Brown, Beyond’s fifth-largest holder, said he won’t sell his shares anytime soon.

“Why would I?” Brown said in an interview this week. “I’m entirely focused on long term,” he said, adding Beyond Meat can be “a $40 billion global protein company.”

Bunge’s investment arm held 979,556 shares, or a 1.63% stake, before Beyond Meat’s IPO. In July, the firm took advantage of an early secondary offering -- which allowed it to sell shares months before the lockup expired -- and sold 72,709 shares at $160, filings show. The shares last traded at $89.24.

(Updates with Beyond Meat CEO quote in seventh paragraph.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Isis Almeida in Chicago at ialmeida3@bloomberg.net;Tatiana Darie in New York at tdarie1@bloomberg.net;Deena Shanker in New York at dshanker@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina Davis at tinadavis@bloomberg.net, James Attwood, Millie Munshi

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.