The selling off of five million shares by a single investor in one go might ordinarily raise an eyebrow, possibly two, but in the case of Bill Gates’ recent offload, observers’ eyebrows can stay firmly in position.
According to a report by the Guardian on Friday, the Microsoft founder sold the shares to help fund work carried out by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the organization he co-founded in 1994. A regulatory filing showed that Gates sold the shares on July 27, for around $27 each.
This latest sell-off comes in a year when Gates has sold some 90 million shares in total. According to Gates’ foundation, $42 million will be going to universities that will use it to finance the development of a special toilet – one that needs no sewer connection, water, or electricity to function – for use in countries with poor sanitary and hygienic conditions. Last year the foundation pledged £10 billion to make vaccines more readily available for children around the world.
If you think five million shares is a lot, bear in mind that the multi-billionaire founder of the Seattle-based computer giant still has a hefty 500 million left in the company, with Forbes magazine estimating the 55-year-old’s fortune to be in the region of $56 billion.
Aware that he can’t take it with him when the time finally comes for him to enter the great computer store in the sky, Gates has pledged to give away much of his money to good causes before that day arrives.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation states its mission as being “dedicated to bringing innovations in health, development, and learning to the global community.” Bill Gates stepped away from the day-to-day running of Microsoft three years ago to concentrate on the work of the foundation.