- File Size: 6028 KB
- Print Length: 234 pages
- Publisher: Primeira Pessoa (April 21, 2014)
- Publication Date: April 21, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00JUWYGDQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,795 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
DREAM BIG: How the Brazilian Trio behind 3G Capital - Jorge Paulo Lemann, Marcel Telles and Beto Sicupira - acquired Anheuser-Busch, Burger King and Heinz Kindle Edition
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Some years ago, I had the chance to interview for a job at the Chinese operations of InBev (predecessor of AB InBev), and I was struck by the youthfulness of intelligence of their people there (a young gentleman in his early 30s from South America was already running the entire finance and M&A operation of China). Over the years, I have followed some of their transactions and found them fascinating. One can also find these information in some recent Businessweek article like ‘The Plot to Murder America’s Beer’ featuring Carlos Brito (protégé of the three gentlemen), a 2013 article featuring 3G Capital and Lemann), and a most recent one called ‘Burger King is run by Children’.
Lemann started one of the most successful investment banks in Brazil called Garantia, modeled after the mighty Goldman Sachs and later sold to Credit Suisse. They later acquired one of the largest retailers in South America, and learned how to operate it from none other than the king of retail, Sam Walton, himself. Along the way, they also created the first private equity fund in Brazil called GP investment.
The core philosophies of Lemann et al are simple yet powerful:
1. Learn from the best (i.e. Goldman Sachs as role model for Garantia)
2. Use smart and hungry young professionals and give them plenty of opportunities to learn, grow and get rich
3. Take a long-term view with investments (grow the business, not flip them)
4. Take over bloated and inefficient companies and impose discipline (operating goals and expense control) and generate strong cash flow (to either pay down debt or pay dividend); this concept had been applied in the buyout of Budweiser, Burger King, and will likely be applied to Heinz as well. It was also mentioned in Chris Zook’s book Repeatability.
5. Focus & simplicity. The trio is known for only doing few deals at a time and instead focusing on getting results and generating cash flow for each portfolio company.
I would give the book a four star because it captures the history and philosophy of the trio well. On the other hand, I was hoping to see more materials outside the published literature, especially in how they implement the operational improvements and in the case of AB InBev, how they integrated the two companies after the merger.
Overall a very inspiring book.
Actually, I read firstly the English translation, which I, as a finance professor at Ibmec Business School in Rio Janeiro, assigned as a recommended reading within a subject held in English on a financial analysis course. Later, I ultimately read the original Portuguese edition, which was already appreciated by undergraduate students on an introductory course on “International Finance” also under my responsibility at Ibmec Business School in Rio de Janeiro. Both books were written with diligence and care, delivering a very pleasant, instructive read.
3. Careful and systematic approach
4. Hiring smart and driven people and giving them ample opportunity to make money and grow professionally
5.Focus on execution
6. Avoiding publicity.
I really admire their determination and wisdom in running the business. However, I am not very thrilled about overemphasis on results and overly aggressive work environment. Yes, it works but it has some significant costs as well, break down in employee's family dynamics and other aspects of life. One might argue that in this globalized world, you really have to focus on results and literally bulldoze one way's through but I disagree. Yes, we have to work hard but we don't have to commit everything and lose a lot in the process. I think certain American and European companies make sure that their employees work hard and produce results but still enable their workers to have a reasonably balanced life (e.g. Google, facebook, J&J, Nestle). I am not trying to discount the 3G's management style but rather suggesting that often not everything has to go to maximize efficiency.
Overall, the book was a good and pleasant read. However, certain parts seemed to long and talked too much about the partners, which made the chapters unnecessarily long and a bit boring. Still it's a great book and I look forward to 3G partner's next venture ^^
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