Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett donates $4.1bn of shares

Berkshire’s CEO is largest shareholder, owning around 39% of its Class A shares

Warren Buffett is to donate $4.1bn worth of Berkshire Hathaway shares to five foundations, and will also resign as the trustee at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In a statement, Buffet described today as a “milestone” as in 2006 he had “pledged” to distribute all of his Berkshire Hathaway shares – more than 99% of his net worth – to philanthropy in annual instalments. “With today’s $4.1bn distribution, I’m halfway there”, he said.

This included gifts to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Howard G Buffett Foundation and NoVo Foundation.

$100bn of shares to go

In 2006 Buffett owned 474,998 Berkshire A shares. Today, he acknowledged holding 238,624 shares, which he valued at about $100bn

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Buffet is Berkshire’s largest shareholder, and owned 38.8% of the Class A shares according to Berkshire Hathaway’s proxy statement to shareholders filed on 15 March.

The 90-year-old said his 16 annual contributions to the five foundations over the years were worth $41bn when disbursed. 

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Buffet’s resignation

Buffett’s resignation as Gates Foundation trustee comes as the charitable organisation faces a prominent time with the recent divorce of its two founders, Bill and Melinda Gates.

“For years I have been a trustee – an inactive trustee at that – of only one recipient of my funds, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMG). I am now resigning from that post, just as I have done at all corporate boards other than Berkshire’s,” Buffett said. 

“The CEO of BMG is Mark Suzman, an outstanding recent selection who has my full support. My goals are 100% in sync with those of the foundation, and my physical participation is in no way needed to achieve these goals.”

Berkshire A shares have rebounded more than 20% to hit a record high in 2021 as many of the conglomerate’s businesses recovered better than expected from the pandemic.

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