Sunday 18 March 2018

Gates donates shares worth $4.6bn in biggest gift of century

Microsoft founder Bill Gates Picture: Getty
Microsoft founder Bill Gates Picture: Getty

Tom Metcalf

Bill Gates has made his largest gift since the turn of the century, giving away Microsoft shares that accounted for 5pc of his fortune - the world's biggest.

The billionaire donated 64 million shares valued at $4.6bn on June 6, according to a Securities & Exchange Commission filing released Monday.

While the recipient of the gift wasn't specified, Gates has made the majority of his donations to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the charity he and his wife use to direct their philanthropic efforts.

It's the largest gift Gates has made since 2000. The 61-year-old gave away $16bn of Microsoft shares in 1999 and $5.1bn a year later.

Spokesmen for Microsoft and Gates didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Bill and Melinda Gates have given away about $35bn since 1994, based on the value of the shares at the time of gifts, according to a review of two decades worth of Gates Foundation tax returns, annual reports and regulatory filings.

Gates created the Giving Pledge in 2010 with billionaire investor Warren Buffett, and the pair have been joined by 168 others who've promised to give the majority of their wealth to charity.

Gates has probably directed more than 700 million shares of Microsoft into the foundation, adjusting for stock splits. Those would be worth about $50bn today had he held onto them. The June gift represents 38pc of his holdings in the company and is the latest in a long line of Microsoft share disposals that have whittled his stake down from 24pc in 1996 to 1.3pc today.

Gates remains the richest person on earth after the donation with a fortune the Bloomberg Billionaires Index values at $86.1bn. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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