June 25, 2006

Buffett pledges $30 billion to Gates foundation

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Billionaire investor and Berkshire
Hathaway Chief Executive Warren Buffett is donating about $30
billion in stock to a charitable foundation started by
Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, the firm said on Sunday.

In a letter to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,
Buffett said he will set aside 10 million shares of class B
common stock for the foundation.

He said he will award 5 percent of the balance of those
shares to the foundation each year.

Based on the stock's per-share price of $3071.01 as of
Friday, the first year's gift of 500,000 shares would be worth
more than $1.5 billion.

Buffett, 75, made the pledge as he prepares to give away 85
percent of his personal fortune, valued at $44 billion to
support philanthropic causes, according to Fortune magazine.
The bulk of that stock will go to the Gates foundation.

The announcement comes after Gates, 50, said he would move
away from his day-to-day role at the Redmond, Washington-based
software company to focus more on charity work.

Now worth $30 billion, the Gates foundation is one of the
world's richest philanthropic organizations. It has committed
millions of dollars to fighting diseases such as malaria and
tuberculosis in developing countries, and to education and
library technology in the United States.

Buffett also pledged annual gifts to a foundation
established for his late wife, Susan Thompson Buffett, as well
as children Howard, Susan and Peter.

In letters to the recipients, he said he will award the
gifts every year for the rest of his life. He is in "excellent
health," he wrote to the Gates foundation, but said that he is
writing a new will to ensure that the stock is distributed
after his death.

The gift is contingent on one of the Gateses continuing to
be involved in the foundation, Buffett said.

Berkshire Hathaway officials were not immediately available
for comment.