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Birthday : 10/28/1955
Place of birth : Seattle (Etat de Washington) - United States
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Bill Gates Transfers Nearly $2.4 Billion Worth of Stock to Melinda Gates Amid Divorce--Update

05/05/2021 | 07:49pm EDT

By Theo Francis and Matt Grossman

Bill Gates transferred stakes in a Coca-Cola bottler, Mexican broadcaster and other companies worth nearly $2.4 billion to Melinda Gates, as two of the world's richest people began dividing their wealth after f iling for divorce.

The transfers were made on Monday, the same day the billionaire philanthropists revealed on Twitter that they were ending their marriage of 27 years. The stock transfers were disclosed in securities filings on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ms. Gates is now one of the largest shareholders in two Mexican companies: bottler Coca-Cola Femsa SAB and Grupo Televisa SA, a cable company and broadcaster, according to disclosures filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Her 4.9% stake in Coca-Cola Femsa was worth about $121 million at Wednesday's close, while her 6.7% Televisa stake was worth about $386 million.

Mr. Gates also transferred to his wife some of his holdings in Canadian National Railway Co. and AutoNation Inc., the biggest owner of U.S. car dealerships, according to other SEC filings. The railway stake, about 1.9% of the company, was valued at $1.55 billion at Wednesday's closing price; the AutoNation shares, about 3.7% of the company, were worth about $307 million.

The public investments are part of a fortune that is estimated to be more than $130 billion, according to Forbes magazine. The couple will be dividing their assets according to an agreement that they negotiated before Ms. Gates filed a petition for divorce in King County, Wash., on Monday, calling her marriage to Mr. Gates "irretrievably broken."

Mr. Gates has sold off or donated most of his stake in Microsoft Corp., the software company he co-founded and ran for decades. He held a 1.3% stake, worth about $25.4 billion at Wednesday's close, as of October 2019, about five months before he stepped down from the Microsoft board. The couple have pledged to give away most of their wealth and over the years have donated more than $36 billion to their philanthropy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Over the years, his money managers invested in dozens of companies through his investment firm Cascade Investment LLC, which disclosed some of this week's transfers. Cascade continues to own about 12.3% of the Canadian railway and 19.2% of AutoNation. It was no longer listed as an owner in the filings for Coca-Cola Femsa or Televisa.

Securities regulations require investors to disclose significant changes in holdings if they control more than 5% of a company's shares. Cascade also has reported holding sizable stakes in other companies, including trash haulers Waste Management Inc. and Republic Services Inc., cable and broadband operator Liberty Global PLC, and conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc., among other companies.

A Cascade spokesman declined to comment beyond public disclosures, and a spokeswoman for Ms. Gates didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Despite their plans for divorce, Mr. Gates and Ms. Gates have said they would continue to work together at their foundation, which gives away billions annually as it aims to tackle global causes such as poverty and disease. They are co-chairs and trustees of the foundation.

Write to Theo Francis at theo.francis@wsj.com and Matt Grossman at matt.grossman@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

05-05-21 2149ET

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AUTONATION, INC. -2.12% 88.77 Delayed Quote.27.20%
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC. -1.82% 412729 Delayed Quote.18.66%
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY COMPANY -0.82% 129.91 Delayed Quote.-7.17%
COCA-COLA FEMSA, S.A.B. DE C.V. -0.70% 51.23 Delayed Quote.11.13%
DJ INDUSTRIAL -1.58% 33290.08 Delayed Quote.10.51%
GRUPO TELEVISA, S.A.B. 0.30% 56.46 End-of-day quote.72.45%
LIBERTY GLOBAL PLC -2.32% 26.91 Delayed Quote.11.11%
MICROSOFT CORPORATION -0.56% 259.43 Delayed Quote.17.30%
REPUBLIC SERVICES, INC. -1.93% 106.52 Delayed Quote.10.61%
WASTE MANAGEMENT, INC. -1.60% 137.07 Delayed Quote.16.23%