Gates Foundation to Sell 60 Million Berkshire Shares in New Plan

  • Foundation uses proceeds for health, education programs
  • Three-year plan replaces sales program that ends June 30

The foundation started by billionaire Bill Gates and his wife intends to sell 60 million Class B shares of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. from July 1 of this year through June 30 of 2020.

The plan will replace a three-year program that began in 2014 and ends on June 30, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said in a regulatory filing Tuesday.

The foundation works to combat disease and poverty globally and backs education initiatives in the U.S. Buffett has committed almost all of his wealth to charity, with the Gates Foundation as the largest beneficiary. His most recent gift to the organization, in July, was for about 15 million B shares, valued at more than $2 billion. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust owns more than 68 million shares, according to the filing.

Class B stock closed at $159.64 Tuesday in New York. Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft Corp., is a director at Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire.

The shares will be sold through a so-called 10b5-1 program, according to the filing. Such plans allow owners to trade a fixed number of shares at specified intervals and are intended to shield executives and directors from the appearance of insider trading.