Bill Gates makes largest donation since 2000 with US$4.6 billion pledge

Now the richest man in the world, Gates' donation represent about 5% of his current $90bn fortune.

The trend is in large part due to Bill and Melinda Gates' philanthropic activities. The shares were valued at $4.6 billion at that time, reports Bloomberg. Those would be worth about $50 billion today had he held his holdings in the company and is the latest in a long line of Microsoft share disposals that have whittled his stake down from 24% in 1996 to 1.3% today.

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The majority of all previous donations have been made to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is primarily focused on reducing world poverty, combating infectious diseases and providing universal access to computers.

While most still have their jaws laying on the floor at the amount Gates recently donated, keep in mind, the former Microsoft CEO routinely purges himself of portions of his wealthy war chest. Ballmer has been Microsoft's largest individual shareholder since 2014 or so. The 61-year-old gave away $16bn of Microsoft shares in 1999 and $5.1bn a year later. Both men had in 2010 created the Giving Pledge in an effort to encourage other billionaires to give at least half of their wealth to charity.

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Bezos, 53, whose fortune has surged 30 per cent since January 1, briefly leapfrogged Gates last month to become the world's richest person on an intraday basis. We've contacted representatives of Gates, Microsoft and the Gates Foundation for more information.

Gates' estimated net worth is $89.9 billion, as of July 2017.

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