Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, whose wealth is estimated at $86bn, is leading the Forbes Rich List for the fourth straight year. (Pic: Emmanuel Dunand, AFP)
New York - Bill Gates made his largest gift since the turn of the century, giving
away Microsoft shares that accounted for 5% of his fortune,
the world’s biggest.
The billionaire donated 64 million of the software maker’s shares
valued at $4.6bn on June 6, according to a Securities &
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 of Microsoft shares that Gates has made since
2000. The 61-year-old gave away $16bn worth of Microsoft shares in
1999 and $5.1bn a year later, according to calculations by
Spokesperson for Microsoft and Gates didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Bill and Melinda Gates have given away about $35bn of stock and
cash 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.
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
38% 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
24% in 1996 to 1.3% today.
Gates remains the richest person on earth after the donation with a
Bloomberg Billionaires Index values at $86.1bn. The drop once
again puts Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos close to the top spot. Bezos,
whose fortune has risen 30% since January 1,
briefly leapfrogged Gates to become the
world’s richest person based on intraday prices last month.
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