Bloomberg cited legal documents on May 3 that Cascade Investment, a company that Bill Gates founded with money from Microsoft Corp., has begun transferring securities worth $ 1.8 billion to Melinda French Gates.
This includes 1.5 billion USD shares of the Canadian National Railways and more than 300 million USD shares of AutoNation Inc. Cascade currently holds more than $ 50 billion in securities.
Specifically, Cascada transferred 14.1 million shares of the National Railways of Canada to Ms. Melinda and another 87.3 million shares owned by Bill Gates.
The Gates divorce after 27 years of marriage was a big shock. Two years earlier, the world was shaken by the divorce of Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott, another tech billionaire couple.
The divorce resulted in a 75-25 split of their wealth with their 16% stake in Amazon. Jeff Bezos holds the majority of his fortune.
However, this is enough to make Ms. Scott the 4th richest woman in the world and also emerge as one of the famous philanthropists as she is one of the strongest contributors in 2020. Along with Melinda French Gates, Ms. Scott also strongly advocates for gender equality.
However, the division of the Gates estate may be much more complicated than the Bezos family. Bill Gates has $ 145 billion but is scattered while the Bezos fortune is mainly focused on Amazon shares. Bill Gates’ fortune stems from his stake in Microsoft conglomerate, but today, the remaining stake does not account for 20% of their fortune.
Much of Bill Gates’s fortune has been transferred to the Gates Foundation over the years, and the exact number of shares Bill Gates holds in Microsoft has not been disclosed after he announced his departure from the company’s board of directors last year.
The Gates’ biggest asset is Cascade Investment, which is run by money manager Michael Larson. Through Cascade, Gates can invest in real estate, energy, hotels, as well as public companies. The Canadian National Railways is their big investment.
The couple is also one of the largest landowners in America and has a giant mansion in Medina, Washington. However, a quick stock move could be a sign that the Gates division of fortune was complete.
Jacqueline Newman, a divorce lawyer, said: “I think everything is done. Maybe they have solved 90-95% of the divorce. The property does not seem to be the problem mentioned by the Gates.”
Washington State, where the Gates family lives, stipulates that property is split evenly after the divorce. However, that does not mean that all assets are equally divided. Janet George, a family attorney in the state, said: “It is not all 50-50 splits. The court can give one side less, the other more depending on what contributes. in marriage “.
However, George also asserted details about the division of the property could never be disclosed. Their stakes in public companies will only be made public when they are large enough.
How the Bill Gates family shares their wealth will have a huge impact on the list of the richest people on the planet. In addition, it also has a strong impact on the charitable commitments they made when they were husband and wife. They are the custodian of the largest charity fund in the world and claim to give away most of their fortune.
After their farewell announcement, they announced they were still participating in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation they founded. This is the charity that contributes greatly to the global health sector, policies against climate change, and social issues. However, how this $ 50 billion fund works soon depends entirely on the cooperation of the divorced couple.
Bill Gates and his ex-wife’s relationship will play a very important role in deciding what the charitable money will be spent on. “The Gates Foundation is the most influential and important charity in the world, not only in property but also in sponsorship. Bill and Melinda themselves are both influencers of the public. their interests, “said Benjamin Soskis, senior researcher at the Center for Nonprofits and Charities at the Washington DC-based Urban Institute.
The Gates fortune is one thing, but people have focused largely on what they’ve given away over the past few decades. By the end of 2019, the Gates home fund had given away $ 55 billion. As a leader at Microsoft, Melinda helps guide the foundation’s strategy and focuses specifically on gender equality. Bill Gates focuses more on the science and global health aspects.
They are both decision-makers. However, when their relationship broke down, people also expressed concern about the split of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation because fundamentally, the two people’s concerns were different. People fear that charitable activities will be affected when Gates and his wife leave.