Melinda Gates is officially a billionaire after Bill Gates transferred more than $2 billion worth of stock to his wife. It appears that just days after announcing that they are getting a divorce, the former couple has begun the process of dividing up their wealth, with SEC filings revealing that Bill's holding company Cascade Investment transferred stakes in several companies to Gates.
According to the filings, which Forbes reported on, 14 million shares of the Canadian National Railway Company and 2.94 shares of AutoNation, worth $309 million and $1.5 billion, respectively. Gates is also now one of the largest shareholders of Mexico-based Coca-Cola Femsa after her husband transferred 25.8 million shares to her. Gates also now holds 155.4 million shares of Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa SA worth $386 million. In total, the securities come to about $2.4 billion, and while that is a hefty sum, it barely puts a dent in Bill's net worth, which was at $130.4 billion and now sits at $128.1 billion, still cementing his place as the fourth richest person in the world.
Bill transferred the stocks on Monday, May 3, the same day his wife filed divorce documents in King County, Washington stating that their marriage is "irretrievably broken." Requesting that "the court to dissolve our marriage," Gates' divorce petition also stated that she and her husband have a separation contract and asked that a judge in Washington state to divide their assets based on the terms in that contract. At this time, the terms have not been disclosed. The couple has numerous assets to divvy up, such as numerous lavish homes, including their 66,000-square foot mansion in Medina, Washington, with an estimated value of $130.88 million. They also have a home in Del Mar, California, with an estimated value of $43 million and other properties in Florida and Central America and private planes, luxury cars, and more material goods. Gates is also one of the largest individual Microsoft shareholders.
Gates and her husband met in 1987 while working at Microsoft and married in Hawaii in 1994, just a year before Bill officially became the richest man in the world. The pair announced their decision to split in a joint statement, explaining that "after a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage… We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives."They are set to appear in court in April 2022. Their Alternative Dispute Resolution date is set for March 2022, and their case will be reviewed in September.