Back in 2019, Bill Gates disclosed that allowing Google to develop Android before Microsoft could build a competing mobile operating system was his “greatest mistake ever”. Ultimately, the mistake prevented Microsoft from becoming “the leading tech company” instead of “a leading tech company”. It’s fair to assume that Gates has a lot of admiration and respect for Google. So does he own stocks in the multinational company that owns the world’s largest search engine?
Bill Gates does not own Google. Famed as the co-founder of Microsoft, Gates has been critical of the search giant over the years, particularly their misguided philanthropic efforts. “Google’s done a lot of great work” but essentially “they still have more money they could give to poor people”.
He may have decided not to invest in Google, but that hasn’t stopped Bill Gates from building an impressive investment portfolio. If you’re interested in finding out how Bill spends his $104 billion fortune, keep reading!
Since 1994 Bill’s personal wealth has been managed by Michael Larson, through Cascade Investments. Larson takes a conservative approach to investing, opting for shares in simple, high-quality companies. With that in mind, Bill’s portfolio remains pretty constant, with only a few changes happening quarter to quarter.
Beyond Microsoft, Bill’s investments primarily occur through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is aimed at fighting disease and improving education in the developing world. Let’s have a look at some of the notable companies that Bill Gates owns shares in:
Although Bill officially stepped down as the CEO of Microsoft in 2000, he is still one of the company’s biggest shareholders. According to British Telecom, Bill currently owns 330 million shares in Microsoft, 3 million less than his former Harvard classmate, Steve Ballmer. In monetary terms, this equates to around $55 billion.
2. Berkshire Hathaway Inc
After Microsoft, Bill’s next biggest investment is in Berkshire Hathaway, in which he owns 49,912,525 shares. The multinational conglomerate holding company is owned by one of Bill’s close friends, Warren Buffett. Interestingly, Berkshire owns around 250 million shares in Apple, worth around $79 billion. This means that Bill indirectly owns around $1.8 billion shares in Microsoft’s biggest rival.
Known as the largest brick-and-mortar retailer in the world, Bill currently owns 11 million shares in Walmart. The shares were purchased in late 2013 and account for 4.49% of its public portfolio. First established in the 1960s, Walmart is said to have made a whopping $514.4 billion in global net sales in 2019 alone!
In January 2010, Gates added international soft drinks manufacturer, Coca-Cola, to his repertoire. He currently has 6.2 million shares in the company, meaning it’s his 7th biggest investment. The investment was Bill’s first purchase since 2008. Coca-Cola held a market value of over 68 billion dollars in the United States in 2019.
5. United Parcel Service
Founded in 1907, UPS is the world’s largest package delivery company. Bill owns 4.5 million shares in the company, which accounts for 2.17% of the company’s portfolio. UPS supposedly delivers 20 million packages and documents each day to 10 million customers located in more than 220 territories.
Surprisingly, Bill also owns 3 million shares in UPSs biggest competitor, FedEx. Founded in 1971, FedEx reportedly owns 32,000 vehicles, 47,000 express vehicles, 630 airplanes, and 14,500 trucks. On top of this FedEx employs around 425,000 people, and generated $29.1 billion in total package revenue in 2019.
|Berkshire Hathaway Inc||Insurance||49,912,525|
|Waste Management Inc||Waste Management||18,633,672|
|Canadian National Railway Co||Transportation||17,126,874|
|Grupo Televisa SAB||Media||16,879,104|
|Caterpillar Inc||Heavy Construction Machinery||11,260,857|
|Crown Castle International||Real Estate||5,332,900|
|United Parcel Service||Transportation||4,525,329|
|Liberty Global PLC||Media||3,639,349|
|Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc||Restaurants||3,060,500|
|Liberty Global PLC||Media||2,119,515|
|Liberty Latin America||Telecommunication||636,044|