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Melinda French Gates Now A Billionaire After Stock Transfer From Bill Gates

Published 8 months ago
By Forbes

Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates are already divvying up their massive fortune, and in the process, Melinda has become a billionaire on her own.

Bill’s investment vehicle, Cascade Investment, transferred nearly $2.4 billion in securities to Melinda on Monday, May 3, the same day the pair announced their surprise divorce, according to SEC filings. That makes Melinda worth at least $2.4 billion, while the stock transfer puts a slight dent in Bill’s net worth, which fell to an estimated $128.1 billion, from $130.4 billion on Tuesday. Even after the ten-figure transfer, the Microsoft cofounder remains the fourth richest person in the world. 

Melinda received 2.94 million shares of AutoNation and 14.1 million shares of Canadian National Railway Co., which are worth $309 million and $1.5 billion respectively. (Bloomberg News first reported the transfer.) Bill also gave Melinda 25.8 million shares of Mexico-based Coca-Cola Femsa worth $120 million and 155.4 million shares of Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa SA, which are worth $386 million, according to SEC filings. The Wall Street Journal first reported the latter transfer.

Bill uses Cascade Investment, a holding company based in Kirkland, Washington, to manage his money, including the proceeds from selling Microsoft shares. Bill at one point owned a significant slice of Microsoft, but has given away (to the Gates Foundation) or sold most of his stake over the years and now holds less than 1%.

The stock transfer is almost certainly part of Bill and Melinda’s divorce settlement. While it’s unclear if they signed a prenup, according to their divorce filing Bill and Melinda asked a judge in Washington state to divide their assets based on the terms of a separation contract—a document that is typically signed when spouses are living apart but have not yet divorced. The terms of the contract weren’t disclosed. Bill may have also transferred other assets to Melinda in non-public transactions. MORE FOR YOUVC Firm Of Moderna Chairman Sold $1.4 Billion Of Stock In Two MonthsPlaid’s $13.4 Billion Valuation Makes Its Founders Fintech’s Newest BillionairesEndeavor Lands Elusive IPO, With Emanuel And Whitesell Controlling Nearly $1 Billion In Shares

A spokesperson for Bill Gates did not reply to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Melinda did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

By Rachel Sandler, Forbes Staff

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