Buffett Watch

Buffett's $2B Giveaway: Less is More

Bill Gates, left, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett pose for a picture after a press conference Monday, June 26, 2006 in New York. Warren Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, recently announced his intention of giving 10 million shares of his company to charitable organizations, the majority going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig

Warren Buffett is giving more this year, even though he is giving less.

A news release a short time ago from Berkshire Hathaway reveals that today Buffett gave just over 572,000 shares of Class B shares (currently trading at about $3700 each ) to five foundations, with most of them going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  It's part of his pledge made just over a year ago to eventually give away 85% of his Berkshire stock.

At that time, Buffett said he would decrease the number of shares given to each foundation each year by 5%.  But since then the stock has gone up by more than 5% so the current dollar amount of the gift, $2.12 billion, is "somewhat greater" than the value of last year's 602,500 share installment.

Of course, Buffett was counting on that to happen, as recounted in a Fortune Magazine piece revealing his philanthropic plans.

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