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Warren Buffett donates $4.6 billion to charities

Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has pledged an additional $4.6bn to charities as part of his lifetime commitment

Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet, has donated shares valued at $AU4.6 billion to five charitable foundations.

The donation of shares, which Buffett converted from his Berkshire Hathaway Class A stock, is yet another round in his pledge to donate most of his wealth to charities and philanthropic endeavours, having started the lifetime commitment in 2006.

The 11,867 shares converted into roughly 17.8 million shares of Class B stock. This was then donated to the five charities, as said in a statement released by the American multinational conglomerate.

“Mr Buffett intends to have all of his Berkshire shares given to philanthropy through annual gifts that will be completed ten years after his estate is settled. In all cases, his A shares will be converted into B shares immediately prior to the gift.”

Buffett has donated the 17.7 million Class B shares, which have a shared value of $AU4.6 billion, to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Howard G Buffett Foundation, Novo Foundation and the Sherwood Foundation.

In 2006, Buffett pledged to donate 85 per cent of his stake in Berkshire Hathaway to these charities, with the biggest pledge donated to the Gates Foundation. Last year, Buffett made another contribution with stocks valued at $US3.17 billion.

In a 2006 letter addressed to Bill and Melinda Gates, Buffett said the gifts will increase in annual giving of about $US1.5 billion. In order to see the gift through, one or both of the founders must be active in the administration, legal requirements must be met and at least five per cent of the annual gift must be made to the Foundation’s assets.

In the letter, Buffett said: “In the future, I expect the value of my annual gifts to trend higher in an irregular but eventually substantial manner.”

In another letter addressed to Susan, Howard and Peter Buffett, the chairman pledged double the original amount, citing the foundations exceeded expectations.

“Over time, I would expect the value of the annual distribution to average more than $US100 million, though it will vary substantially from year to year,” Buffet wrote in the letter. “I’m confident you will use the money wisely, each in your own way.”

The statement from Berkshire Hathaway said Buffett has never sold any shares.

“With the current gift, however, about 43 per cent of his 2006 holdings have been given to the five foundations. Their value at the time of the gifts, including the 2018 gift, totals about $US31 billion.”

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