Forbes - Billionaires

Melinda French Gates Is Now Hundreds Of Millions Richer After New Stock Transfer From Bill Gates

Melinda French Gates just got more stock from Bill Gates amid their divorce.

Bill’s investment vehicle, Cascade Investment, transferred $851 million worth of shares of farm equipment maker Deere & Co. DE to Melinda on Thursday, May 13, according to SEC filings. Bill already transferred $2.4 billion worth of stock in four companies—Canadian National Railway, car dealership group AutoNation AN , Mexican Coke bottler Coca-Cola Femsa KO and Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa—to Melinda on Monday, May 3, the same day the pair announced their divorce. Melinda French Gates is now worth $3.3 billion, Forbes estimates.

Bill remains the fourth-richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $126.1 billion after the latest stock transfer. As for Melinda, it remains unclear how much of the fortune she will end up with following the divorce. The pair asked a judge in Washington to follow a separation agreement, a contract typically signed when spouses are living apart but have not yet divorced. The terms of the contract have not been disclosed, so it is not yet known who will get their main family residence, a sprawling $131 million estate dubbed Xanadu 2.0, along with their other homes, private planes, art collection and large farmland holdings.

In their divorce petition, Bill and Melinda said their relationship was “irretrievably broken,” but the pair hasn’t said exactly what prompted the split. Melinda reportedly began consulting divorce lawyers as far back as 2019 after Bill’s meetings with deceased sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein came to light, the Wall Street Journal first reported. Additionally, a spokesperson for Bill admitted he had an affair with a Microsoft MSFT employee in 2000, which the company’s board investigated in 2019, also according to the Wall Street Journal. Bill stepped down from Microsoft’s board before the probe was completed, though the spokesperson denies he did so because of the investigation.

“There was an affair almost 20 years ago, which ended amicably. Bill’s decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter,” the spokesperson told Forbes.

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