By Kimberly Chin
Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has pledged to donate shares worth about $3.6 billion to five foundations, as part of his plan to give away most of his wealth to charities and other philanthropic efforts.
The company said Monday that Mr. Buffett, 88 years old, plans to convert 11,250 shares of his Berkshire Hathaway Class A stock into roughly 16.9 million shares of Class B stock. Around 16.8 million of the Class B shares will be donated to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the NoVo Foundation.
Mr. Buffett has pledged to eventually donate about 85% of his stake in the Omaha conglomerate to these five foundations, with much of it primarily going toward the Gates Foundation. This follows a series of contributions he made last year and the year prior to the group, with a value of about $6.6 billion.
In total, including the current gift, he has donated about 45% of his 2006 holdings to date to the five foundations. The gifts are collectively valued at around $34 billion, according to the company.
Mr. Buffett plans to give away all of his Berkshire Hathaway shares to philanthropy through annual gifts. The plan would be completed 10 years after his estate has settled, the company said.
Mr. Buffett is Berkshire's largest shareholder. As of June 30, he held 37.4% of the Class A shares in the company, according to FactSet.
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