While The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE:KO) is the official sponsor of World Cup, we believe that PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) might benefit more from the event due to one simple reason: snacks. While beer is the staple drink at the World Cup, chips are the staple snacks that usually go hand-in-hand with beer. In its last quarterly report, PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) posted better-than-expected profits and revenues and while its drinks segment is struggling, the sales of the Frito-Lay chips and snacks was the main revenue growth driver. As consumers become more health-aware and switch away from sugar-filled sodas, PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) has been focusing on its snack business and even introduced healthier versions of its most popular snack brands.
The changes that PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) has made regarding its strategy did not go unnoticed among hedge funds, as PepsiCo has managed to outrank The Coca Cola Co (NYSE:KO) as the more popular choice. At the end of 2017, there were 49 funds holding shares of PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP), versus 46 funds long The Coca Cola Co (NYSE:KO). By comparison, three years ago, at the end of the second quarter of 2015, 62 funds were bullish on Coca Cola and 57 investors held shares of PepsiCo.
Then there’s Yandex NV (NASDAQ:YNDX), the company that operates the largest search engine in Russia and a number of other businesses. Commonly known as the “Russian Google”, Yandex is the second most-popular European stock among hedge funds due to its leading position on the Russian search market. During the World Cup 2018, Yandex will cater to the crowds of travelers by providing services such as Yandex Maps and Yandex Flights, as well as Yandex Taxi, which is the largest online taxi booking service in the country, covering 108 cities. During the fourth quarter, Yandex Taxi saw the number of rides surge by 250% and with 1.50 million people expected to visit Russia during the World Cup, there will most likely be a further bump in rides growth. Earlier this year, Yandex Taxi acquired Uber’s operations in Russia and neighboring countries and Yandex NV (NASDAQ:YNDX) expects the division to propel its consolidated revenue growth to between 25% and 30% this year.
Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU) gets exposure to the World Cup through its main assets: its players. Most players will play for England, which is currently an underdog with odds of 16/1 to win (probability of around 6%), but some “Red Devils” will also be part of other national teams, including Spain and France, which are among the favorites to win the competition (alongside Germany and Brazil). Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU) saw just eight funds tracked by Insider Monkey long its stock at the end of 2017.
Last but not least, we should mention William Hill plc (LON:WMH), which is one of the best igaming companies to invest in, and which saw revenue of $2.38 billion last year, up by 7% compared to 2016. William Hill plc (LON:WMH) has both online and retail segments, with retail including over 2,300 licensed betting offices in the UK (out of 8,500 in operation). William Hill plc (LON:WMH) served over 2.40 million customers in the UK, Italy and Spain last year. William Hill plc (LON:WMH), which also has ADRs traded on the Over-the-Counter market in the US, is one of the best ways to benefit from sport betting, without having to actually risk money by betting on teams at the World Cup.