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Divorce Asset Split Starts: Melinda Gates Now Owns Stakes In These 4 Stocks

Divorce Asset Split Starts: Melinda Gates Now Owns Stakes In These 4 Stocks

The divorce between Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates and Melinda Gates is well-publicized. The event could lead to the splitting up of a fortune worth $140 billion, including stakes in several publicly traded companies.

Splitting up of assets has already begun with new filings revealing Melinda Gates getting stakes in four companies that were large holdings of Cascade Investments, the investment vehicle of Bill Gates. 

AutoNation: A filing shows Melinda Gates owns 2.9 million shares of AutoNation Inc. (NYSE: AN), worth around $314 million at press time on Monday. Melinda now owns 3.7% of AutoNation, which is America’s largest and most recognized auto retailer. The company reported first-quarter earnings in April with an all-time record of $2.79 in adjusted earnings per share. Same-store revenue was up 27% year-over-year to $5.9 billion. The company ended the first quarter with 315 locations in 18 states. AutoNation shares hit a 52-week high last week. Shares are up 190% in the last year and up 119% in the last five years.

Related Link: 5 Things You Might Not Know About Melinda Gates

Canadian National Railway: One of the largest transportation companies in the rail segment is Canadian National Railway (NYSE: CNI). Melinda Gates now owns 14.1 million shares in CNI, making up for around 2% of the railway company, following a transfer from Cascade. Canadian National is the only transcontinental railway in North America and has a network of 19,600 miles in Canada and the United States. The company covers three coasts with the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. Canadian National reported in-line revenue for its first quarter and is guiding for double-digit earnings per share growth. Canadian National is in the process of trying to combine with Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU) in a $33.7 billion deal that could strengthen the company’s presence in the U.S. Shares of Canadian National are up 39% over the past year and up 89% over the last five years.

Grupo Televisa: Leading Spanish language media company Grupo Televisa (NASDAQ: TV) is now a large share position for Melinda Gates. A stake valued at around $386 million in Grupo Televisa was given to Gates. Grupo Televisa reported adjusted revenue up 8% year-over-year in the recent quarter with growth in the Cable, Sky and the Content segments. The company’s flagship network has two times the average ratings to its closest competitor. Grupo Televisa reaches customers in over 70 countries with more than 27 brands. The company also owns a 36% stake in Univision. Shares of Grupo Televisa are up 163% in the last year and down 54% in the last five years.

Related content: Benzinga's Full Stock Split Calendar

Coca-Cola Femsa: The largest franchisee of Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) in the world is Coca-Cola Femsa (NYSE: KOF). Gates received around $120 million in KOF shares. Coca-Cola Femsa offers 129 brands in 10 countries covering a population of more than 260 million people. The company has 49 bottling plants and 268 distribution centers. Coca-Cola Femsa has over two million points of sale. Shares of KOF are up 22% in the last year and down 44% over the last five years.

What’s Next: The new ownership stakes for Melinda Gates could be just the beginning of splitting up assets like stocks owned by Cascade Investments. The investment firm for Gates also has large positions in Deere & Co (NYSE: DE), Republic Services (NYSE: RSG), Diageo (NYSE: DEO) and Ecolab (NYSE: ECL).

Cascade owns over 10% of Deere & Co, a stake worth north of $12 billion. The stake in Republic Services is worth an estimated $11.8 billion.

Photo by Chatham House, London on Wikimedia


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