Gates Foundation Assets Plummet 20%


No surprise that Bill Gates, along with everyone else, is getting hammered by the recession. But Dealbook breaks down the numbers: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is down 19%, and Bill’s Cascade Investment is down another 18%.

We’re genuinely distressed about this: The Gates Foundation has been doing good (if theatrical) work to rid the world of curable diseases, the investment hit might slow down operations a bit.

The value of Mr. Gates’ investments fell by $3 billion, or almost 20 per cent, in the fourth quarter as the worst financial crisis in decades and a deepening recession hammered stock prices.

The investments of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation fell 19 per cent to $9.07 billion, while those of Cascade Investment, Mr. Gates’ investment firm, fell 18 per cent to $4.02 billion, according to regulatory filings on Tuesday.

The foundation increased its stake in McDonald’s Corp., the world’s largest hamburger chain, to 6.4 million shares as of December 31 from 4.9 million shares as of September 30, according to the filings.

The foundation increased its stake in Coca-Cola to 5.7 million shares from 2.7 million shares, and in auto dealership group Autonation to 10.2 million shares from 7.7 million shares.

It shed stakes in troubled financial companies American International Group and Washington Mutual.

The foundation took a one-million-share stake in Coca Cola Enterprises Inc., the largest Coca-Cola bottler, and cut its stake in Warren E. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

Cascade took a 7.95 million-share stake in Eastman Kodak and a 3 million-share stake in shoe maker Crocs .