In the wake of their divorce announcement earlier in the week, Bill and Melinda Gates have begun splitting up their massive fortune, turning Melinda Gates into an instant billionaire.
On Monday, May 3, which happens to be the same day the couple announced their divorce, Bill’s investment vehicle, Cascade Investment, transferred nearly $2.4 billion in securities to Melinda. Though the transfer places a dent in the Microsoft Co-founder’s net worth, which fell to an estimated $128.1 billion, from $130.4 billion on Tuesday, Bill Gates remains the fourth richest person in the world.
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According to Forbes, Melinda received 2.94 million shares of AutoNation and 14.1 million shares of Canadian National Railway Co., which are worth $309 million and $1.5 billion respectively. Bill Gates was also said to have given Melinda 25.8 million shares of Mexico-based Coca-Cola Femsa worth $120 million and 155.4 million shares of Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa SA, which are worth $386 million, according to SEC filings.
With more assets to divvy up, Melinda Gates may well be on her way to becoming the second wealthiest woman according to The Guardian. Reports reveal that the couple did not have any prenuptial agreement as such under Washington state law divorcing couples are expected to share their assets equally. That being said, a 50-50 split will rank Melinda Gates behind Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, the 67-year-old L’Oreal owner, and the world’s richest woman whose inherited fortune is now worth about $83 billion.
Reason for the divorce
Although Bill and Melinda having come out to explicitly state the reasons for the divorce it is reported by Wall Street Journal that Melinda Gates had been considering divorce since 2019 when Bill Gate’s ties to Financier and convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein became public.
According to reports, Melinda Gates was unhappy and furious at the relationship between Bill and Epstein after she and Bill visited Epstein at his Upper East Side mansion in September 2013.