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How the Gates Foundation Became One of Berkshire Hathaway’s Biggest Shareholders

With Warren Buffett’s donation of nearly $2.6 billion in stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last week, the Foundation, and the wealthy couple behind it, have become major stakeholders in Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B).

Buffett’s July donation was his largest to date, totaling approximately $3.4 billion. Stock also went to charities run by him and his children, including the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and NoVo Foundation, but the largest share was contributed to the Gates Foundation.

According to an ownership report filed with the SEC, as reported by CNN Money, the 13.5 million shares Buffett donated to the Gates Foundation means that it now owns more than 5% of Berkshire Hathaway. Bill Gates also personally owns several shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock, meaning that the family and its foundation have a significant holding in the company.

Investopedia puts the Gates Foundation amongst the top four holders of Berkshire Hathaway Class B stock following Buffett’s mid-July contribution. The other top holders are Vanguard Group, State Street Global Advisors, and Cascade Investment Llc. Vanguard.

Nevertheless, CNN Money notes that an SEC filing detailed plans to sell 60 million shares that the Foundation has by June 30, 2020. The income from the stock will reportedly be donated to charity.