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Buffett donates billions to Bill Gates' charity

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Warren Buffett, the world's second richest man, has pledged $30.7bn of his $44bn fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The billionaire investor will donate the money in stages, he said, in the form of shares in his company Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

This year the Gates' Foundation will receive half a million shares worth around $1.5bn. In total, Buffett has pledged 10m shares to the foundation, which will get a further five per cent of the total, each year, for as long as either Bill or Melinda Gates remains involved with the charity.

According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, it is the largest charitable donation ever made.

Buffett, who plays Bridge with Gates, said he had chosen to donate the money to Gates' foundation because he isn't as suited to philanthropy as the Microsoft founder.

He told Fortune magazine that he decided to divide up his fortune following the death of his wife in 2004. He had expected she would outlive him, he explained, and that she would see to disposing of his wealth. He has earmarked a further $6.3bn of stock for Buffett family foundations.

The Gates' are said to be "awed" by the donation. ®

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