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Bill and Melinda Gates announce divorce after 27-years of marriage

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Bill Gates, Co-Founder of Microsoft, and his wife Melinda, are getting a divorce after 27 years of marriage. Yahoo Finance’s Alexandra Canal shares the details.

Video Transcript


BRIAN SOZZI: Bill and Melinda Gates are ending their marriage after 27 years, the pair announced a statement on their Twitter accounts Monday evening. The couple founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000. Since then, the foundation has spent nearly $54 billion to improve global health and poverty. Yahoo Finances', Alexandra Canal is here with more. Wow. What else can you say here, Allie?

ALEXANDRA CANAL: I know. I was really shocked when I saw this notification on my phone yesterday, but Bill and Melinda Gates, they are very high profile, very high net worth philanthropists, really. And you mentioned that they co-founded and spearhead the $50 billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. That spends about $5 billion per year on causes from education and climate change, to improving health in developing countries. And if you remember at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bill Gates was a very powerful voice in the public health space.

So, I think this foundation is going to be the focus of their divorce. I think it's a little too early to tell whether or not it's going to have any real impact. They both said in their statements on Twitter that they will continue to work on the foundation together. A spokesperson also said that they will remain co-chairs and trustees, but in any high profile divorce, detangling the assets are going to be complicated.

I'm sure there are many lawyers and procedures involved, given the high net worth of this family. But if we think back to Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, they finalized their divorce for about $36 billion. So, you can anticipate that this will be relatively similar. Forbes reports that Bill Gates is the fourth richest person with a net worth of over $130 billion.

Now, they are seeking a division of their assets, according to their separation agreement. And this separation agreement is going to be very important. It's basically going to detail which properties, which investments each individual is entitled to. And they reportedly do not have a prenuptial agreement in place. So, everything is going to be heavily detailed in the separation agreement.

Melinda Gates is also reportedly not seeking any spousal support. So, let's dig into those assets that are presumably going to be detailed in this agreement. The couple owned multiple homes together, the most notable is a 66,000 square foot custom mansion in Washington state. That has a reported value of $131 million. Most recently, the couple also purchased a $43 million home in Del Mar, California, according to the "LA Times." And Bill Gates also owns other properties in Florida and Central America, in addition to some luxury planes and cars.

And then, of course, there are his investments. Now, he only owns a little over 1% of Microsoft. Over the year-- over the past few years, he's really distanced himself from that company. He's given away or sold the majority of those shares, but he does have some investments in other companies. He holds equity in the brand and advertising company, Branded Entertainment Network, and he's also the Chairman of TerraPower, which is a nuclear reactor design company.

Meanwhile, the net worth, and really the assets of Melinda Gates, have not yet been disclosed. So, it's really going to come down to Bill. It's going to come down to what's in that separation agreement.

Personally, I think that they have already hashed this out. I think they are going to be very strategic with it because this divorce is going to play out very publicly, and when that happens, you want to make sure that there is no mudslinging. You want to make sure that it is a very clean divorce because both of these individuals have very high brand values. And if there's anything bad that goes on, I think that could really tarnish the reputation, and then the ancillary businesses that all of these individuals are associated with.

BRIAN SOZZI: I'll end it where I started, Allie, wow. Let's leave it there for now. So, just wow. Alexandra Canal, good to see.