Bill Gates is one of the world’s greatest philanthropists. He and his wife Melinda Gates have donated $ 45.5 billion (40 billion euros) in their lifetime through their foundation and other charities, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy magazine. In addition, he promised to donate most of his fortune to a charity and founded with his friend Warren Buffett Giving Pledge, an organization that asks other wealthy people to do the same.
This is why so many people think that Bill Gates’ personal wealth decreases as he gives his money. But this is not the case. Bill Gates is incredibly wealthy and gets rich all the time. He is $ 9.5 billion richer (8.3 billion euros) today than he was a year ago, and his personal wealth is just over $ 100 billion. (87.7 billion euros), according to the index of billionaires of Bloomberg. And in 2014, Bill Gates was worth $ 76 billion (€ 66.6 billion). So he made $ 24 billion ($ 21 billion) in five years.
This net worth of $ 100 billion puts him in a rare category, even for a billionaire. It is an exclusive two-member club with Jeff Bezos, the other Seattle area super-billionaire. Jeff Bezos is known as the richest man in the world, with an estimated net worth of $ 146 billion (128 billion euros). Bill Gates has often been called the number 2 richest person in the world, about seven times in the past 24 years.
But the truth is, we don’t know how rich Bill Gates is. Much of his investment is made through Cascade Investment, his business led by a notoriously secret fund manager, Michael Larson. These investments range from significant stakes in public companies, such as Waste Management and AutoNation, to real estate and other commercial interests.
In addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also invests in for-profit businesses, these interests being controlled by Bill, Melinda or both. For example, their foundation bought nearly 800,000 shares of Liquidia Technologies, a biotechnology company that develops personalized drugs, manufactured according to documents from the Securities Exchange Commission. Liquidia is currently making an initial public offering. Even if, it must be said, such issues concern the foundation and do not really count for the personal wealth of Bill Gates.
On the other hand, most of his fortune no longer comes from Microsoft, even though his Microsoft actions are doing well under the CEO of Satya Nadella. Over the past 15 years, Bill Gates has sold most of his stake in Microsoft. In 2004, he owned 1.1 billion shares of Microsoft. He currently holds around 103 million shares, valued at $ 12 billion (10.5 billion euros). He has not sold or acquired shares in the past two years, renouncing both his salary and his share allocations for his role as president.
But there are times when he still finds himself tied to Microsoft because of his many business interests. For example, in April 2017, Microsoft acquired a company called Intentional Software, founded by Charles Simonyi, a former Microsoft engineer, who worked on Excel and Word. Bill Gates was an Intentional investor through one of its investment companies, and Microsoft paid him $ 60 million (€ 52.6 million) when he acquired the company, a declared the company.
So while Bill Gates devotes his energy to charitable giving, his fortune grows much faster than he can give it.