Bill Gates gave $2.4B in stock to Melinda on day of divorce announcement

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Bill Gates transferred $2.4 billion in stocks to his soon-to-be ex-wife Melinda — $600 million more than initially believed — on the day one of the world’s wealthiest couple announced they were splitting, according to new filings.

The Post and others reported earlier Wednesday that Gates shuffled $1.8 billion of stock to Melinda through Cascade Investment, a holding company that the Microsoft co-founder formed to manage his financial assets.

The transfer included more than $1.5 billion in shares of Canadian National Railway and over $300 million in AutoNation stock. Those transfers, which occurred on Monday, were publicly disclosed on Tuesday. 

But additional filings disclosed on Wednesday reveal that Gates also transferred to his wife a roughly $120 million stake in Coca-Cola Femsa, a Mexican bottling company for Coke, and almost $390 million of holdings in Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa. Both transactions took place on Monday, according to the filings. 

That brings the total amount of stock transferred from Gates to Melinda to nearly $2.4 billion so far. It also has immediately propelled Melinda Gates to her new status as among the largest shareholders of all four companies.

The transfers are among the first indications of how the power couple will go about divvying up their assets as they separate. Bill Gates has sold off most of his stake in Microsoft, but still has major investments across the stock market, largely through his firm Cascade Investment.

Investors must disclose major changes in holdings if they control more than 5 percent of a company’s shares, according to US securities regulations, so the public may continue to get a look into the Gateses’ split — through financial documents.

The couple’s divorce petition, which was filed Monday in King County Superior Court in Washington state, indicated that they don’t have a prenuptial agreement to distribute their estimated $130 billion in assets.

Instead, the two have signed a separation contract for dividing their property and possessions, but the terms of that agreement have not been publicly disclosed in court documents.

Gates has other major assets, too, that aren’t in the public markets, such as the couple’s ownership of American farmland.

Gates owns nearly 270,000 acres, or 422 square miles, of land across more than a dozen states, according to a January investigation by The Land Report of the largely hidden investments. Divorce proceedings could reveal more about Gates’ role as the biggest owner of farmland in the country.

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