Brewer AB InBev has stumped up for more rounds than most. It has spent $300bn on M&A in the past decade, including the £79bn “megabrew” takeover of SABMiller in 2016. Several disposals later, its debt pile sits at $85bn. The share price has halved since that landmark deal.

Results on Wednesday underlined the pitfalls of a buy-and-slash-costs strategy. As discovered by Kraft Heinz — similarly schooled by Brazilian investor 3G — that brutishly crude model needs more than low interest rates and a willingness to wield the axe to bring results...

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