Bill Gates donates $4.6 billion worth of Microsoft stock to his foundation

Bill Gates donates $4.6 billion worth of Microsoft stock to his foundation

Bill Gates donates $4.6 billion worth of Microsoft stock to his foundation

Bill Gates has given away $4.6bn (£3.6bn) to charity in his largest donation since 2000.

Despite the donation, which stems from a reduction in his stake in Microsoft by 64 million shares, Gates remains the world's richest person. Although the details of the direct recipient of the donation have not been revealed, reports claim that a huge chunk of the shares have gone the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates and his wife set up the charity with an initial $5bn funding pot to improve global healthcare and reduce extreme poverty. In 1986, when the company went public, Gates held 45% (pdf) of its shares; in 1996, his stake had almost halved to 24%; and now, with his latest 64-million-share donation, he's down to a mere 1.3%, according to Bloomberg.

Representatives for Microsoft and the Gates Foundation did not respond to Observer requests for comment. The 61-year-old gave away $16 billion worth of Microsoft shares in 1999 and $5.1 billion a year later, according to calculations by Bloomberg.

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His most recent donation takes Gates' overall charitable pledges around the $50 billion mark. Gates now holds less than 2 per cent of Microsoft's shares.

Gates' estimated net worth is $89.9 billion, as of July 2017.

These sizeable donations have turned the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation into the world's largest private charity with $40.3 billion of funds (before the latest donation). Last month, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos briefly surpassed Gates and became the world's richest person for less than a day, promptly falling back behind Gates after Amazon's share price dropped.

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