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It’s not often that a divorce announcement makes the whole world sit up and take notice. However, when the couple in question is Melinda and Bill Gates, you do expect heads to turn and mouths to gape. The former couple was worth $146 billion before they decided to separate.
While Bill Gates might have founded Microsoft, today his shareholding in the company likely makes up less than 20% of his assets according to a Bloomberg report. The question on everyone’s minds is: What will happen to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? The Foundation is dear to both their hearts and their representatives have said that they will continue to work together on the Foundation.
How much is the Foundation worth? A lot. Its portfolio value right now is $25 billion. This is after the Foundation has spent $50 billion on public health projects around the world. It has committed $1.75 billion to COVID relief as well.
The Foundation has invested in 18 stocks in total. We take a look at the top 10 stocks that make up its portfolio:
Top 10 Stocks Owned By The Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation
The value of the Foundation’s investment in Warren Buffett’s company is $11.8 billion or 45.5%. Gates and Buffett are very good friends, and Buffett has already pledged to donate a large part of his wealth to the Foundation. The Gates, on the other hand, clearly think that Buffett’s Berkshire is the perfect custodian for their Foundation funds. Berkshire Hathaway stock has gained over 66% from May 10, 2020, to May 5, 2021, justifying Gates’ decision to trust it.
The Foundation has invested 10% of its funds, $2.6 billion, into Houston-headquartered Waste Management. The company provides waste management environmental services to residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers in North America. The stock has beaten analyst estimations in each of the last four quarters. This is an evergreen company because the world will always need someone to collect and manage its waste. The stock has gained over 40% in the last 12 months.
This one of the largest equipment companies in the world. Its products are in heavy demand in construction, mining, transportation, and energy. The stock has gained over 111% in the last 12 months after it suffered during the pandemic when all economic activity halted. As the world continues to open up, Caterpillar stock will continue to move up. US President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.3 trillion infrastructure plan will only make Caterpillar more attractive. The Gates Foundation has invested 10% of its funds or $2.6 billion into Caterpillar.
CNR is the one Canadian stock that both the Gates Foundation and Berkshire Hathaway own. The company’s railway network covers 19,500 route miles across Canada and the US. This is the closest to an MS Operating system that Bill Gates can get to in the physical world. CNR transports petroleum and chemicals, grain and fertilizers, coal, metals and minerals, forest products, intermodal, and automotive products serving exporters, importers, retailers, farmers, and manufacturers. The Gates Foundation has invested $1.9 billion into this company. The stock has moved up over 34% in the last 12 months.
Walmart is the world’s top retailer and the fifth largest receipt of the Gates Foundation’s investment at $1.6 billion. The company has increased its dividend payout for the 48th consecutive year and is exploring new business opportunities as well. Recently, it invested in General Motors’ self-driving car subsidiary Cruise. Walmart has also divested its businesses in the UK, Argentina, and Japan that will make its balance sheet leaner and stronger. The company’s razor-sharp focus on cost savings should hold it in good stead for a long time. Walmart stock has gained 11% in the last 12 months.
Based in Houston, Crown Castle is one of the top operators of wireless communication towers in the United States. It owns, leases, and manages over 40,000 cell towers, and around 80,000 route miles of fiber supporting small cells, and fiber solutions spread to the US. Crown Castle is a great wealth creator for its investors. A $10,000 investment made in May 2011 would be worth $44,164 in May 2021, a return of over 341%. It’s no surprise that this is part of the Gates Foundation portfolio. Crown Castle stock has gained 16.5% in the last 12 months.
Ecolab is a solution provider – water, hygiene, and infection prevention – to multiple industries. One would have expected this company to have done very well during the pandemic but the company reported a loss on its bottom line for the first time in 30 years in 2020. However, CEO Christophe Beck is positive about 2021. In the Q1 2021 earnings call, he said, “In a world where hygiene standards are rising, where food safety and infection risk awareness has reached new levels, where the expected gap between water supply and water demand is wider than ever, our differentiated value proposition as the global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention services, and technologies positions us uniquely to capture this accelerating growth trend.” The Gates Foundation has a $991 million stake in the company.
Slots 8 and 9 are taken up by two logistics companies: UPS and FedEx. The Gates Foundation holds $960 million in UPS and $921 million in FedEx. Both companies have outperformed in the last 12 months, with UPS stock gaining 126% and FedEx gaining 155% in this time period. Both of these stocks are value stocks that might just be beginning their transition into growth stocks. The pandemic has gotten people used to ordering online, and e-commerce businesses for both these companies should only increase as the years go by.
The Gates Foundation has invested $518 million or 2% of its funds into this biotech company that uses computers to help companies find new drugs. This is one of the smallest market caps that the Foundation has invested in but it owns 11% of the company. Gates is betting on this company to make it big in the long haul. Schrodinger stock has returned around 41% in the last 12 months.