Bill Gates, cofounder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Gates Foundation, transferred shares of two companies to the foundation last month.
When Bill Gates announced last month that he was donating $20 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation–part of a move to step up the giving by the philanthropic group–he didn’t share any details about which assets he was giving up.
Forbes found that, according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a significant chunk of his gift was a transfer in late July of about 44.5 million shares of Canadian National Railway–worth nearly $5.2 billion. That leaves Bill Gates with a 1.4% stake in the company, worth $1.2 billion as of Tuesday’s market close.
Gates’ Cascade investment firm had already been trimming its stake in the Canadian railway company. Last year he shifted part of his holding to Melinda French Gates as part of their divorce settlement. In March and April this year, Gates sold about $940 million worth of Canadian National Railway stock, as first reported by Bloomberg. In May he sold another batch of shares, worth $730 million. Gates has owned a stake in the company, via Cascade, since at least 2013. The stock has more than doubled in value since then and has paid annual dividends of at least $1 a share since 2015.
Late last month Gates also gave the Gates Foundation nearly $1.3 billion worth of his shares in tractor and farm equipment maker Deere & Co., per an SEC filing. Gates now owns a stake 6.5% in Deere, worth about $6.7 billion. He also transferred some of his Deere & Co. shares to Melinda French Gates in August 2021 as part of their divorce settlement. Shares of Deere have fallen about 5% so far this year.
Together, the gifts of Canadian National Railway and Deere & Co. shares account for just under one third of the $20 billion that Gates said he was giving to the Gates Foundation. A spokesperson for Gates did not reply to a request for comment on which other stocks or assets Gates transferred.
The shift in assets pushed Gates, age 66, down one spot on Forbes’ real-time rankings of the World’s Billionaires, to No. 5 richest in the world. India’s Gautam Adani moved into the No. 4 spot. As of Tuesday afternoon following the close of trading, Gates was worth an estimated $109.9 billion.
Through his Cascade investment firm, Gates also owns stakes in waste management companies Republic Services and Waste Management and car seller AutoNation, among others. Gates is believed to own about $28.6 billion worth of Microsoft stock, a bit over 1% of the company. He stopped reporting his ownership stake in Microsoft in 2020 after he stepped down from the board of directors.
Bill Gates transferred shares in several companies to Melinda French Gates last year, according to filings with the SEC, including shares of …….