Are These Still Top Positions?

Bill Gates Sells Microsoft, Berkshire Hathaway Shares In Q1: Are These Still Top Positions?

Billionaire Bill Gates is best known as the co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT). He is also known for his philanthropic efforts with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust.

Those two items collided in the first quarter with the sale of Microsoft stock. Here’s what to know.

What Happened: Gates stepped down as the CEO of Microsoft in 2000 and later left the board of directors in 2020.

The co-founder of the software giant remains a large shareholder in the company through his own holdings and the stock holdings of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust.

A new 13F filing for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust reveals two key changes made in the first quarter.

The trust sold 1.7 million Microsoft shares and 2.6 million shares of Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE:BRK). The trades lowered the weighting of these two stocks by 4.5% and 13.1%, respectively.

After the sales, the top holdings of the trust are, with values from the end of the first quarter:

Microsoft: 33.5% of the portfolio, 36,499,597 shares, $15.4 billion

Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM): 16.4% of the portfolio, 35,234,344 shares, $7.5 billion

Berkshire Hathaway: 15.9% of the portfolio, 17,303,097 shares, $7.3 billion

With the latest trades, Berkshire Hathaway moved from the second-place spot down to third place.

Related Link: Microsoft Q3 Earnings: Revenue Beat, EPS Beat, ‘New Era Of AI Transformation’ And More

Why It’s Important: Gates owns Microsoft shares in his Cascade Investments vehicle and his personal holdings. The former CEO once owned 45% of the company when it went public in 1986.

The ownership stake has been reduced over the years by Gates and the foundation trust, which represents his philanthropic efforts.

Berkshire Hathaway, led by Gates’ friend Warren Buffett, has been a top investment of Gates and also sees shares donated by Buffett to the trust.

The latest moves in the first quarter come as it was recently announced that Gates’ ex-wife Melinda French Gates is stepping down as the co-chair of the trust. French Gates will be leaving for her own philanthropic efforts with an added $12.5 billion commitment.

The former Microsoft CEO is listed as the fifth richest person on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a wealth of $154 billion, up $13.6 billion year-to-date.

Gates’ sale of Microsoft stock comes as shares have soared in the last year thanks to new artificial intelligence initiatives and growth. Microsoft shares are up 37% over the last year.

Read Next: How Bill Gates Almost Killed The Xbox: ‘This Is An Insult To Everything I’ve Done’ 

Photo: Lev Radin via Shutterstock

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