View Full Version : Warren Buffett Gives Away $37Billion

06-26-2006, 05:58 PM
Buffett gives away $37bn


June 27, 2006

THE world's second richest man is giving away a vast chunk of his fortune - most of it to the only man richer than he is.

Warren Buffett plans to give away $37 billion later this year, with the majority of the money going to a charity run by Bill Gates.

It is the largest individual charitable donation in US history.

"It makes sense," Mr Buffett, 75, told Fortune magazine.

The decision marks a reversal for the plain-spoken $60 billion man, dubbed the Oracle of Omaha, because he never left his hometown in the US heartland, despite his reputation as the world's savviest investor.

He still lives in the modest Nebraska home he bought 50 years ago.

Fortune said the donations would amount to about 85 per cent of Mr Buffet's total wealth.

Mr Buffett, a widower, had previously said he would wait until he died to hand over his vast wealth to charity.

But he has now decided his friend Bill Gates can do the most good right now.

"What can be more logical, in whatever you want done, than finding someone better equipped than you are to do it?" Mr Buffett said.

He also described Mr Gates as a master manager who was uniquely equipped to put his billions to good use.

"Who wouldn't select Tiger Woods to take his place in a high-stakes golf game?" Mr Buffett asked.

"That's how I feel about this decision about my money."

The shares will go to five foundations. But more than 83 per cent of the stock will go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which already has a kitty of about $40 billion which is used to underwrite medical research and give educational grants.

The Gates foundation will get a first gift of $1.5 billion this summer, with hefty annual cash infusions to follow.

The Gateses said they were stunned by the generous gift.

"We are awed by our friend Warren Buffett's decision to use his fortune to address the world's most challenging inequities," they said.

Besides the Gates gifts, Mr Buffett also plans to give smaller amounts to foundations run by family members.

Mr Buffett said although he had been given a clean bill of health, the death of his wife Susan almost two years ago had influenced his decision to distribute his wealth now.

He said: "She and I always assumed that she would inherit my Berkshire stock and be the one who oversaw the distribution of our wealth to society".

Mr Buffett made his billions from astute investments. Virtually all of the money is concentrated in the holding company Berkshire Hathaway - a holding company that owns a diverse mix of more than 60 companies, including insurance, furniture, carpet, jewellery, restaurant and utility firms.

It has logged spectacular returns over the years.

A single share of Berkshire Hathaway's class A stock now costs $92,100, while one share of class B goes for about $3000.