Warren Buffett, the world’s fourth wealthiest person, is donating shares of his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate worth about $3.6 billion to five charities, including one run by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates.
Buffett has a net worth of more than $87 billion according to wealth indexes tracked by Forbes and Bloomberg. He is converting some of his A shares of Berkshire Hathaway into B shares of the company. Buffett is giving the shares to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and NoVo Foundation.
Berkshire’s class A stock, which allows investors to have more voting rights, trades at a nosebleed level of more than $321,000 for just one share. The B shares, which cater to average investors, trade at a more affordable price of about $214.
Susan Thompson Buffett is Warren Buffett’s late wife. The other three charities are run by Buffett’s children Susan, Howard and Peter and their families.
The Oracle of Omaha donated about $3.4 billion in Berkshire stock to the same five charities last year. That move made the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation one of the larger shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway.
In an SEC filing last year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said it planned to sell 60 million Berkshire shares by June 30, 2020, to donate to charity.
Buffett has been donating a portion of his Berkshire shares to charity since 2006. According to a press release Monday, the value of Buffett’s gifts has totaled $34 billion.
And Buffett, along with Bill and Melinda Gates, launched The Giving Pledge in 2010 — a vow taken by more than 200 of the world’s wealthiest people to donate a majority of their wealth to philanthropic organizations.
Other high profile billionaires to take The Giving Pledge include Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Oracle founder Larry Ellison and MacKenzie Bezos, the ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
By Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business