Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, donated $1.6 billion in his annual gift to the foundation established by Bill Gates.
The value of the July 1 donation, which was made in Berkshire Class B stock, rose about 28% from $1.25 billion last year, according to a regulatory filing on July 2. The number of shares given fell 5% to 20.4 million, when last year's count is adjusted to reflect a 50-for-1 share split. In the 12 months, Berkshire has gained about a third.
Mr. Buffett is giving away a personal fortune that was estimated at $47 billion by Forbes magazine in March. Four years ago, he pledged most of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which combats global hunger and funds U.S. education initiatives. This year's gift is Mr. Buffett's biggest since the $1.8 billion he gave in 2008.
Berkshire had net income last year of $8.06 billion, a 61% increase from 2008. In February, Mr. Buffett completed the biggest takeover of his career, the $27 billion purchase of railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe.
Mr. Buffett and Mr. Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corp. and the world's second-richest man behind Mexico's Carlos Slim, are pressing fellow billionaires to give more. On June 16, the two men and Mr. Gates' wife, Melinda, announced a campaign called “The Giving Pledge” to induce the wealthiest individuals and couples to commit half their fortunes to charity.
Mr. Gates is a Berkshire director.