Buffett Donates $3.4 Billion in Berkshire Stock

Warren Buffett, billionaire guru investor and leader of multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, has revealed his annual donation of stock for 2018. Each year, the Oracle of Omaha donates Berkshire stock to charitable foundations. For 2018, the total value of the donated stock was a whopping $3.4 billion, according to CNBC. The donation consisted of 11,867 Class A shares (BRK.A) and about 17.8 million Class B shares (BRK.B).

Donation Schedule Dates to 2006

Back in 2006, Buffett planned a donation schedule in which he pledged to give away the large majority of his fortune, currently estimated to be approximately $82 billion. Per that plan, most of the shares in the donation package for 2018 will go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the charitable organization of the Microsoft founder and his wife. 13.5 million shares will be allocated toward the Foundation, with an estimated value of around $2.6 billion.

Shares Decline, But Value Rises

Interestingly, Buffett has donated a smaller and smaller number of shares to charitable organizations as the years have gone by since the 2006 plan. However, because the value of Berkshire stock continues to rise, the overall value of his donation has increased as well. Since last year, Class B shares saw a 12.8% increase in value. Last year they were valued around $170 at the time that Buffett confirmed his donation; this year, the price was closer to $192. Overall, then, the value of the gift to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has increased over the 2017 donation by about 7.1%. Last year's donation to that organization was worth $2.42 billion.

Overall, including this latest round of donations, Buffett has donated more than 243 million Class B shares to the Gates Foundation alone. This is slightly less than half of the 500 million shares he has pledged to donate. Including next year's gift, he will surpass the 50% threshold. The expected total value of the gifts based on overall market price at the time of the donations will be more than $24 billion.

There are four other foundations set to receive stock in this year, including NoVo Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. Including this year, Buffett says, these five organizations will receive about 43% of the billionaire's 2006 holdings as of this point.

Buffett's move to "farm out" his philanthropic giving has drawn questions from some, but the billionaire says that "when I have money to give away, I believe in turning it over to people who are...energized, working hard at it, smart...doing it with their own money, the whole thing. And I get to keep doing what I like doing. So as far as I'm concerned, I haven't given away a penny."

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