Bill Gates makes largest donation since 2000 with $4.6-billion pledge

In 2000, the businessman who co-founded Microsoft in 1975, gave away more than $20 billion worth of shares, according to Bloomberg calculations. As usual, the recipient of this donation will likely be Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Despite the donation, which stems from a reduction in his stake in Microsoft by 64 million shares, Gates remains the world's richest person.

Microsoft Corporation shares were trading at $73.27 per share on Tuesday morning, down $0.32 (-0.43%).

The majority of all previous donations have been made to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is primarily focused on reducing world poverty, combating infectious diseases and providing universal access to computers.

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The amount represents about 5% of Mr Gates' current $90bn fortune and reduces his stake in Microsoft to just 1.3% from 24% in 1996.

Foundation officials did not respond to The Chronicle's requests to confirm where the shares were going.

Now the richest man in the world, Gates' donation represent about 5% of his current $90bn fortune. Prior to this, Mr Gates gave away $16bn in Microsoft shares in 1999 and $5.1bn in 2000.

Gates probably has directed more than 700 million shares of Microsoft into the foundation, adjusting for stock splits, and he would be about US$50 billion richer today had he kept them. However, the gap has narrowed with Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, who surpassed Mr Gates as the world's richest person for a few hours last month during a brief bump in Amazon shares.

  • Darren Santiago