The world's second-richest man Bill Gates missed out on a major windfall from a punt on Paddy Power shares.
Filings for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which was set up for philanthropic purposes by Gates, show that it owned 49,000 shares in Paddy Power at the end of 2008. Those shares were worth just over €632,000 at the time. They would have risen more than fourfold in value to €3.1m by last week.
However, in 2009, the Gates Foundation sold down much of its holding, ending the year with 10,443 shares. In 2010, it returned to the market, ending the year with 17,233 shares, then valued at €517,000. Most recent filings for the Gates Foundation reveal that at the end of 2011, it had again upped its stake, holding 26,411 shares. Based on last week's share price, those shares would be worth €1.66m.
Last week, the Sunday Independent revealed the Gates Foundation had been a major bondholder in toxic Irish banks such as Anglo and irish Nationwide. Most bank bondholders were controversially repaid as Ireland came under intense pressure from the ECB.
Apart from his stake in Paddy Power and a large holding of Irish bank bonds, the Gates Foundation also invested in a number of Irish stocks, including INM – publisher of the Sunday Independent.
Regulatory filings show that at the end of 2011, the Gates Foundation held 99 million shares in Bank of Ireland. Based on last week's share price, this stake is valued at about €16.8m. However, the Gates Foundation has been hosed on its stake in the bank. Back in 2007, it owned over 1.9m shares, which were valued over €19.4m.