Buffett donates another $2.86 bn of his Berkshire stock to Gates Foundation

Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, has donated another roughly $2.86 billion of his holdings in the company's stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four family charities, under a plan to give away nearly his entire fortune.

According to a regulatory filing yesterday, Buffett's 11th annual donation to the five charities comprised 19.61 million Class "B" shares of Berkshire.

The Gates Foundation, which is focused on improving education and health and reducing poverty, received around 14.96 million shares.

The donations which were made Wednesday, brought Buffett's total contributions to the charities to over $24.3 billion since 2006.

Donations were also received by the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named after Buffett's late first wife, and the Howard G Buffett, Sherwood and NoVo Foundations, respectively overseen by his children Howard, Susan and Peter.

According to Forbes magazine, Buffet, 85, remains the world's third-richest person.

Buffett still owns around 18 per cent of Berkshire's stock, down from 32.3 per cent before the donations began in 2006 and commands 31.7 per cent of the Berkshire Hathway's voting power.

Before the announcement of the donations, Forbes had estimated Buffett's net worth at $68.4 billion, trailing Bill Gates' $77.6 billion and Spanish retailing magnate Amancio Ortega's $74 billion. Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com is placed fourth with $64.3 million.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest foundation in the world, champions causes like ending world poverty, improving US schools and combating infectious diseases like HIV, polio and malaria.

Gates recently launched a plan to give away over 100,000 chickens to some of the world's poorest people, who could breed and sell the animals to help lift themselves out of poverty.