Kraft Heinz: The $8 Billion Brand Write-Down
On Friday, February 22, 2019, following an unexpected and disappointing earnings report, The Kraft Heinz Company's stock price fell 27%, wiping out $16 billion in market value. CEO Bernardo Hees had announced that the company had taken a $15.4 billion asset write-down, that the company would be cutting its annual dividend from $2.50 to $1.60 and that it was under SEC investigation for accounting irregularities related to its procurement process. $8.3 billion of the asset write-down was related to a loss in value of the firm's intangible assets, specifically its Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands. As Kraft Heinz looked ahead to the future, it was time to recalibrate its brand management strategies. With $50 billion in brand assets remaining on its balance sheet, effectively managing its brands going forward was critical to avoiding another brand asset write-down and to regaining the $8 billion brand value the company had just lost. Was Kraft Heinz's brand asset write-down the beginning of the end of the market dominance of "Big Food" brands across the board or was it idiosyncratic and a result of the firm's brand management resources, capabilities, and strategies?