Investors who want to invest like Bill Gates should focus on these stocks.
Bill Gates is the co-founder and former CEO of software giant Microsoft Corp. (ticker: MSFT), which has grown to become a $1.8 trillion technology behemoth. Gates’ success at Microsoft propelled him to become the world’s wealthiest person for several years throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s. Gates stepped down as CEO of Microsoft in 2000 and has since focused largely on philanthropy via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Today, Gates is worth $104.6 billion after having donated nearly $59 billion to the Gates Foundation. Here are seven of Gates’ largest stock investments, based on recent filings from Gates, his Cascade Investment private investment firm, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust.
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)
If you’re going to invest like Bill Gates, the most obvious place to start is by buying shares of the company that made Gates wealthy in the first place. Although Gates is not as hands-on at Microsoft as he once was, he is believed to still own about 1% of the company, a stake worth around $28 billion. Microsoft is also the Gates Foundation Trust’s top holding. The Trust holds more than 39.26 million shares of Microsoft worth about $9.14 billion. For a $1.8 trillion company, Microsoft still reported impressive 10.6% revenue growth in the third quarter.
Berkshire Hathaway is the holding company of fellow billionaire and Wall Street legend Warren Buffett. It is also the second-largest stockholding of the Gates Foundation Trust. The trust holds about 29.6 million shares of BRK.B stock worth more than $7.9 billion. Together, Microsoft and Berkshire make up more than 50% of the trust’s portfolio. Buffett has made annual donations to the Gates Foundation since 2006, when he pledged to eventually donate 99% of his net worth and all of his Berkshire stock. Buffett donated 14.4 million shares of BRK.B stock in June 2022.
Canadian National Railway Co. (CNI)
Canadian National Railway is the fourth-largest North American railroad. According to a 13D filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in July, Gates, the Gates Foundation and Cascade hold a combined 64,360,928 shares of CNI stock worth more than $7.8 billion at today’s prices. Those combined holdings also represent about a 9.3% ownership stake in Canadian National. Gates gifted 44.5 million of those shares of Canadian National to the Gates Foundation in July, leaving Gates himself with roughly a 1.4% ownership stake in the company. Gates had previously sold more than $1.6 billion of CNI stock earlier in 2022.
Deere & Co. (DE)
Deere is the world’s largest producer of farm equipment. Around the same time Gates gifted his Canadian National shares to the Gates Foundation, he also gifted more than 3 million shares of Deere, worth about $955 million, to the foundation. In a second July 13D filing with the SEC, Gates disclosed that he, Cascade and the Gates Foundation held a combined 23,689,657 shares of Deere stock worth more than $9.6 billion at today’s prices. Those shares represent a combined 7.8% ownership stake in Deere. DE stock has been a solid performer for Gates in 2022, posting a total return — which includes dividends — of 22% through Nov. 18. That’s serious outperformance in a bear market.
Waste Management Inc. (WM)
Waste Management provides waste management environmental services to residential, commercial, industrial and municipal customers. The Gates Foundation first invested in Waste Management way back in the third quarter of 2002, and the stock has generated a total return of roughly 1,000% since that time. Waste Management runs one of the largest recycling operations in the world, which is in line with the Gates Foundation’s environmental goals. In 2021, Waste Management recycled 15.3 million tons of materials, including 7.7 million tons of paper and 502,459 tons of plastic. The Gates Foundation holds 35.2 million shares of WM stock worth about $5.64 billion.
Republic Services Inc. (RSG)
Republic Services is another non-hazardous solid waste disposal services company that is a top Gates holding. In February 2022, a Cascade filing revealed Gates added another 362,747 shares to his Republic Services stake, bringing Cascade’s total holdings up to roughly 109.1 million shares worth more than $14 billion. That stake gives Cascade a more than 34% ownership stake in Republic Services. RSG shares have performed relatively well so far in 2022, generating a year-to-date total return loss of just 3% through Nov. 18. In the third quarter, Republic reported 22.6% revenue growth and 19% net income growth compared to a year ago.
Ecolab Inc. (ECL)
Ecolab provides water, hygiene and energy technologies and services for a wide range of end markets, including the food services and processing, hospitality and health care industries. Gates first disclosed a stake in Ecolab back in June 2011, and the stock has more than tripled since then as Gates has steadily increased his stake. From Aug. 19 to Aug. 22, 2022, Cascade purchased another 58,667 shares of Ecolab, bringing its total investment up to 31,185,554 shares worth roughly $4.81 billion. The Gates Foundation Trust also holds roughly 4.8 million shares of ECL stock worth more than $702.8 million.
7 “Bill Gates” stocks to buy now:
— Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)
— Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A, BRK.B)
— Canadian National Railway Co. (CNI)
— Deere & Co. (DE)
— Waste Management Inc. (WM)
— Republic Services Inc. (RSG)
— Ecolab Inc. (ECL)
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Update 11/21/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.